Oxnard MultiCultural Festival celebrates local diversity

By George Miller

For the first time, the Festival was held at the shiny new Collection outdoor  mall, just North of 101 off Oxnard Blvd. Saturday at the festival was hot (95 degrees), bright and sunny.

There was a fine, wide array of nationalities/cultures represented, even some good ‘ole plain American. The stage was host to dances throughout the world and bands. We walked in to the strain of bagpipes playing while an amazing array of dancers of various ethnicities did their skilled and enthusiastic interpretations of ancient Scottish ritual dances, staged by MacKinnon Dance Academy /Seaside Highland Games. Other acts are listed here.

An unlikely assortment of ever-changing groups performed ancient Scottish ritual dances to the strain of bagpipes, only one of multiple acts on the stage Saturday. (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

An unlikely assortment of ever-changing groups performed ancient Scottish ritual dances to the strain of bagpipes, only one of multiple acts on the stage Saturday. (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 The 19th annual Festival was ably produced by the Oxnard Community Relation Commission, which had much debate about the switch to the new venue and is considering alternating with the Plaza Park downtown venue.  Both locations are excellent for different reasons. Free admission and parking made it available to nearly all with the means to get there. The venue in Collection Park provided plenty of space in a pleasant environment with the lure of shopping never far away.

Present were churches, city departments, service organizations, ethnic associations, as well as specific countries, such as Brazil. Philippines, China, Japan, Mexico, S. Korea, Scotland, Jamaica, Kenya, etc.

One of the impressive aspects of the event was how seamless the interface/cooperation with other city departments at appeared to be. The Commission made the arrangements, CityCorps was doing work, Police and Fire Depts guarded over it, Homelessness, Youth and other Commissions had booths there, Oxnard PAL was high profile, even bringing in famous athletic heroes, such as first ever American woman Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist (2012) Claressa Shields. She was in Oxnard for this week’s PAL National Boxing Championship. A native of hardscrabble Flint, MI, she somehow clawed her way up to #1 in her class in the highly competitive amateur boxing world, with some help from her club and PAL. She has a 48-1 record with 18 knockouts- wow!  This reporter met her last Thursday at the tournament, held here in Oxnard. She helps to promote boxing and other sports.

Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist Claressa Shields (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist Claressa Shields (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 Two representatives for the 2015 Special Olympics promoted next year’s big event in LA.

Nearly all of City Council was up on the stage while we watched and more acts performed before the day was done.

Egypt

Egypt

Jamica

Jamaica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of the people staffing the booths were Oxnardians, or lived nearby, not residents of the many lands represented here.

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China

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Brazil

We tried some different food booths- Philippine and Jamaican- two favorite national cuisines, The food was plentiful and edible, but kinda mediocre at best, so we saved our calories and afterward went to Red Lobster. Fourteen food booths provided good representation, but exceeded crowd demand for food.

 

(L-R): Councilman Bryan MacDonald, 2 Special Olympics reps., Mayor Tim Flynn, Councilwoman Dorina Padilla, Mayor Pro-Tem Carmen Ramirez (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

(L-R): Councilman Bryan MacDonald, 2 Special Olympics reps., Mayor Tim Flynn, Councilwoman Dorina Padilla, Mayor Pro-Tem Carmen Ramirez (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Can't fore

Can’t forget Mexico, ancestral homeland of a large majority of Oxnard population.

Oxnard CityCorps

Oxnard CityCorps

While the event was very well executed, it was a little disappointing to see such light crowds- maybe because there was so much going on on that Saturday, or maybe the 95 degree heat.  It also could have been that we saw no signs driving in and actually had to ask people specifically where the festival was, because we didn’t find the MAP. Big signs around town like with the Salsa Festival might have helped. Otherwise- GREAT job- thanks!

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Well, Scotland almost became a country recently.

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Phillipines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We saw All Saints Episcopal, AME, Arkangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church.

Didn't have enough time, money or stomach capacity to try all the food, such as Cajun.

Didn’t have enough time, money or stomach capacity to try all the food, such as Cajun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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