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Charlottetown transformed into a mosaic of diversity for street festival

Spending the day amongst a plethora of other cultures has been one of the highlights of living in P.E.I. for four Study Abroad students from South Korea.

Wo Yeon Won, Sue Kim, Kuri Kim and Yoonji Nam helped run the Korean Association of P.E.I.’s booth during the 13th DiverseCity Multicultural Festival held on a blocked off area of Queen Street in Charlottetown on Sunday.

“It’s kind of a small city so I didn’t expect to come across this sort of huge festival,” said Won. “I think it’s really cool and I can feel that P.E.I. is really open and respectful to other culturally different people.”

Their booth had traditional South Korean stickers, information about the country as well as bookmarks with Korean writing.

The four said they loved getting the chance to expose the Korean culture to Islanders and people of all cultures.

“Most of them weren’t really aware of Korean culture but it’s really interesting that they have no idea about Korean culture but they come across the booth and try something new so I think it’s really cool because we can educate people,” said Sue.

The scent of traditional cuisine like samosas and crepes filled the entire block with 23 food vendors at the event.

There was also craft art, chalk art for children, cultural displays and demonstrations every hour on the corner of Victoria Row.

The melody of music and the booming of drums filled the block.

A stage at the end of the street had many performers from a multitude of cultures perform, like the Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors who performed traditional dances and drumming.

The performances kicked off with the Saint Mary’s University Taiko Japanese drum group who attended the festival for the first time.

“It was lots of fun, very lively,” said drummer Kaitlin Tan, who is originally from Singapore.

Her teammate Tomo Oizumi, who is from Japan, said it’s interesting to see the similarities amongst the cultures, as well as the differences.

“When I saw the Mi’kmaq drums I thought it looked so much like ours but with different skins,” she said.

Stephanie Stanger was one of many who brought her children to the festival.

As a resident of Charlottetown, she said she would love for more celebrations of cultural diversity in the city.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “They should do it more often.”

When the main event was over, the first DiverseCity after party dance was held.

There will be two more DiverseCity festivals on P.E.I. this summer organized by the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada. One will be held in Montague on July 14 and another in Alberton on July 21.

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