Skip to main content

57th annual Multicultural Festival underway in Kitchener


Kitchener’s Victoria Park came alive on Saturday as the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre (KWMC) hosts their 57th annual Multicultural Festival, celebrating the rich diversity of the community.

“This is the biggest festival in the region and we're celebrating the diversity and the uniqueness. We're celebrating each other,” said Lucia Harrison, CEO of the KWMC.

The weekend-long event drew thousands of attendees on Saturday, showcasing the myriad of cultures that contribute to the city’s unique tapestry.

“If the weather permits, we can see 70,000 people through this park over the weekend,” Harrison said. “Every year we do different things. We have different performers. We've gotten bigger. It's just like every year just builds on the previous year and it's just very exciting.”

The festival featured an eclectic mix of performances, culinary delights, and artisan crafts from over 30 different cultural groups.

“We've got the marketplace, we've got over 200 vendors who are selling various kinds of products. And then, yes, the food, lots of performances,” Harrison said.

“We get a combination of everything so it’s nice to learn about the different cultures too,” one attendee said.

Bhupi Panesar has been a vendor at the festival since 2005. It’s an event she says is near and dear to her heart.

“I moved from London, England in 2004, so this was my way to connect to the community and honestly, I don't know how I would have done it if it wasn't for events like this,” she said.

As an experienced mehndi artist, Panesar thought she could share her talents to the community of Waterloo Region. Her business Henna4You has now been a part of the community for over 20 years.

“Henna is the leaves of the henna tree, and what they do is they dry them, they crush them into a really fine powder, like icing sugar…it starts off like a really light orange and then the color develops 24 to 48 hours later.”

Other hhighlights of the festival included a series of stage performances featuring Bollywood numbers, traditional Irish dance and a display of African drumming. Additionally, the culinary offerings were a major draw. Attendees lined the grounds in front of different food stalls serving everything from spicy Caribbean jerk chicken to delicate Japanese sushi, allowing festival-goers to embark on a global culinary journey without leaving the park.

In addition to entertainment and food, the festival also emphasized cultural education and community engagement.

“It brings us together for all our similarities, not our differences. So I think that in itself is what makes it so special,” Harrison said.

Panesar remarked on the festival’s role in fostering a sense of belonging and community pride.

“We're all from somewhere. Our roots are from somewhere else. And if we don't have events like this, we'll never find out what a different culture does or what's important to them,” she said. Top Stories

Here are the signs you're ready to downsize your home

Amid the cost-of-living crisis, many Canadians are looking to find ways to save money, such as downsizing their home. But one Ottawa broker says there are several signs to consider before making the big decision.

Stay Connected