KINGSTON – The 8th annual Kingston Multicultural Festival goes live online on June 14. Each year, folk artists and cultural organizations in Kingston and surrounding communities gather at T.R. Gallo Park in the Rondout to celebrate the Mid-Hudson Valley’s cultural diversity..
In this time of physical distancing, the Kingston Multicultural Festival Committee saw an opportunity to celebrate Hudson Valley diversity and promote cultural sharing with a virtual festival.
The festival website (www.kingstonmulticulturalfestival.org) offers a variety of experiences including PERFORM featuring local folk artists such as Senagalese drummer Amadou Diallo; the Asian-Indian Natesan Family; Scottish bagpiper Richmond Johnston; the Mid-Hudson Chinese Community Association Dance Team; New Progressive Baptist Church; Spirit of Thunderheart; and Ukrainian dance troupe Tzvitka.
New features this year include Eastern European music from Caprice Rouge; Italian crooner Michael Del Vecchio and his Michael Dell Orchestra; Latino fusion trio Sabor Latino; Latin dance troupe Dojo Dance; and the Woodstock Jewish Congregation.
Kingston Multicultural Festival ONLINE also spotlights several interactive activities for the family. In PERFORM there are questions and illustrations attached to each performance to talk over with family members to better connect one’s own cultural experiences to what is being viewed.
TRY IT! offers instructional videos on how to dance bachata, drum Latin beats, make cultural crafts, and food demonstrations from around the world. EAT features the menus and cultural backgrounds of local restaurants. This research was conducted by Food Anthropology students at the Culinary Institute of America.
Two very special features are GREET and QUILT. In GREET, more than 20 residents of the Kingston area offer greetings in their native languages, and you can join in by recording your greeting at: https://www.tribute.co/kingston-multicultural-festival-language-mosaic/
The Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History in Kingston is partnering with Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie on the Digital Cultural Quilt Project. Share your culture by contributing a digital quilt square. See more than 50 squares of our ever-growing quilt already posted on Instagram at #CulturalQuiltHV. Find instructions to make a quilt square at ReherCenter.org or on QUILT on the festival website.
This year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of Esther Taylor Evans, a beloved member of the Kingston African-American community who was a fierce advocate for the black and multicultural communities.
The Kingston Multicultural Festival began in 2012 as a Kingston block party led by Geoffry Miller, Ulster County Historian, and founder of the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History, as a way to bring the area’s diverse communities together for an afternoon of solidarity. It grew and transformed into the Multicultural Festival in 2016 to include more performances and community groups offering children’s activities, food and information. It is the only multicultural festival in the Mid-Hudson Valley.