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Food, entertainment, stories provide connection to the world

It’s become a tradition.

It’s become an event which allows immigrants from around the globe to reconnect, and those born in Canada to gain a wealth of knowledge about the rest of the world.

With more than 35 cultures represented, the annual OneWorld Multicultural Festival celebrates the diversity of the South Okanagan region.

And despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the 8th annual event, hosted by South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services, will go ahead as planned Saturday, February 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

<who> Photo Credit: Wolf Borowski </who> One World Festival 2018; SOICS

"The OneWorld Festival is an important way to recognize and celebrate our region’s diversity, a platform to share and learn from each other,” said Cherry Fernandez, executive director of SOICS. “It is a reminder of the strength and connection we have in our community, particularly in the uncertainty and tensions of this past year.”

SOICS provides a range of free services to all immigrants, temporary foreign workers, post secondary international students, and refugees through education, advocacy and projects which assist in their integration.

Fernandez and her team have been following the continuously evolving health guidelines and precautions to gauge their approach to the upcoming event, which normally attracts more than 2,500 people to the East Ballroom of the Penticton Lakeside Resort and Convention Centre every February.

That live event won’t happen in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Respecting the safety of everyone, OneWorld Festival will be hosted online in 2021, allowing performers, participants, and attendees an opportunity to enjoy the festival from the comfort of their own home.

The fact the event is online gives it a worldwide presence, apt considering the event focuses on multiculturalism.

<who> Photo Credit: Wolf Borowski </who> One World Festival 2018; SOICS

The OneWorld festival will go ahead virtually, with live entertainment and food choices from around the world.

Online performances will be accessed at:

“Music and dance are an easy and interactive way to learn more about the global community, and is a core element of the OneWorld Festival,” added Fernandez. “It is important to the OneWorld team to still bring the energy that multicultural music and dance command while featuring local performers on the virtual OneWorld stage.”

In addition to performances, activities such as children’s book readings and international cooking demonstrations will provide family-friendly entertainment and learning from the comfort of your own home.

Next the food.

Ah, the food - from around the world.

In 2021, while you view the festival online, local multicultural restaurants will be offering food specials.

“We encourage you to visit these vendors to further experience the heritage and culture that speaks through the flavours of their dishes,” said Fernandez. “Also visit the OneWorld Festival booths displayed at participating locations.”

The OneWorld Festival booths will stream the online event.

“We encourage you to visit the booths to view the festival when you pick up your food items and to collect a booklet of local immigrant stories,” added Fernandez. “The pocket-size booklet shares experiences of integrating into the community and highlights the diverse history and culture found in our communities.

“The booklet is yours to keep.”

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia </who> Balinese dancer Kadek Darmasih at the OneWorld Festival.

There is no charge to participate in the 8th Annual OneWorld Multicultural Festival.

“Last year alone the South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services served immigrants from 94 different countries and territories,” summarized Fernandez. “The OneWorld Festival is a venue to connect, understand, and appreciate our cultural diversity and grow together.

“It is a celebration!”

For the event schedule, the list of performers and food vendors, and details on the cultural ambassadors, click here.

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