The Ridgefield Multicultural Festival will return on Sept. 3 to honor different cultures from around the world through classes, workshops, and a variety of food.
Ridgefield Deputy City Manager Lee Knottnerus is excited to host the event once again.
“This is the fifth year that we’ve had this festival, and actually it was a collaboration between the city and some very active and interested Ridgefield residents who wanted to create some kind of international or what we ended up calling a multicultural festival,” Knottnerus said. “It seemed to fit really well with the residents who were interested because they had recently moved to Ridgefield, and were of a different nationality and really wanted to be able to showcase their nationality to their new home and their children.”
She said the festival also fits well with the city’s mission because they’re “growing quickly.” Knottnerus said the city strives to embrace and celebrate diversity.
“We wanted to be able to provide a fun way for the community to come together and for everyone in the community to feel welcomed, and learn more about different cultures and celebrate with each other, and to make sure everyone felt welcomed and included in the whole festival,” she said.
Compared to previous years, Knottnerus said the main difference will be the event’s expansion, as the festival has been “well received” every year. She said the organizers keep trying to add more activities and education opportunities, while highlighting the presence of additional cultures.
“We’ll still have a full day of performances, a lot of dancing, singing, and demonstrations from a large number of other nationalities,” Knottnerus said. “We will also have classes this year, which we haven’t been able to do every year, but we have some in-person cooking classes and dancing classes that will showcase different cultures and backgrounds.”
The classes include a Vietnamese cooking class, a Chinese fried rice cooking class, a writing workshop, and a Bollywood dance class. On the Overlook Park main stage from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the festival will host performers like Pa’akai Productions Hawaiian dance, Titlakawan Aztec traditional dance, and Vancouver Ballet Folklorico.
On top of that, there will be over 75 vendors featuring locally grown fruits and vegetables, and artisan goods.
“Some of (the vendors) represent specific ethnic groups. Some of them provide activities like arts and crafts activities, physical activities that are educational and very inclusive and fun for kids of all ages to be able to participate in,” Knottnerus said.
The festival will also feature a historical component focused on the origins of Ridgefield and the Native American people who live in the area. She encourages Native American people to participate but said the display will be smaller this year.
“We actually one year really showcased the Native peoples of this area, and pretty much the whole festival area had to do with that historical aspect, so we still have a component of that this year, but it’s not the main focus,” Knottnerus said.
The Ridgefield Multicultural Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Overlook Park, 113-131 S. Main Ave.
For more information and the full schedule of events, go to ridgefieldwa.us/event/first-saturday-september.
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