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2017 Multicultural Festival brings the world to Renton

The second annual Renton Multicultural Festival featured music, dance, stories, arts, play, and food on Sept. 22 and 23, 2017.

On opening night, the Carco Theatre came alive with performances by Filipino, Hawaiian, East Indian, Irish, Tap, and Indian Classical dancers. The following day, the festival moved downtown to the Renton Pavilion Event Center with a mix of dance, music, and martial arts. The evening’s grand finale featured Miss Asia Washington and Miss India Washington walking the runway.

Preeti Shridhar is Renton’s Deputy Public Affairs Manager; she said the goal of the Renton Multicultural Festival, going into its second year, was to invite people from all over the northwest to enjoy the many traditions of Renton’s diverse community.

“It is certainly about celebrating song, dance, food, and music. But it’s also about learning and it’s about sharing with each other,” Shridhar said.

Along with song and dance from around the world, there was storytelling, workshops, and global goodies to eat.

Pastor George Huston, a member of Renton’s Inclusion Task Force, came up with the idea for the festival. He also worked at Renton’s Living Hope Christian Fellowship, which houses a Ukrainian church, an Hispanic church, some Free Methodists, and worship groups from many other parts of the world.

He says that’s the kind of inclusion that the festival is all about.

“I think it’s important because for years people have gotten along just fine. And there tends to be right now, sort of a retreat into cliques. And this is an effort to get people to get to know their neighbors,” Houston said.

And everyone knows the best way to get to know your neighbor is to have a party.

“The goal was to get everyone from the community to be part of it, to be part of each other, but the goal is also to showcase this to our broader area because we gain our strength from our diversity,” Shridhar said.

And at this party, everyone is welcome, and borders don’t exist.

“People got a chance to see the world, right here in Renton,” smiled Houston.

Check out the gallery of photos and stay tuned for the announcement of the 2018 Festival dates.