Festival raises cultural awareness Posted May 16, 2011 by admin

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Posted on www.phillyBurbs.com: Monday, May 16, 2011

By Freda R. Savana, Staff Writer

There were smiling Chinese-American children in shimmering red and gold embroidered pants with matching slippers and black men proudly wearing long African shirts of blue and green. The smell of spring rolls mixed with baked lasagna and sauerkraut, while a bluegrass band played.
Cultural diversity was in full swing Sunday afternoon at Hatboro-Horsham High School, where the community’s educational foundation hosted its first culture fest.

“It’s such a global world,” said Laurie Rosard, executive director of the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation. “It’s important to have students, parents and the community experience the cultural diversity in our community.”

And, added Rosard, “We not only want to expose the cultural diversity here, we want to celebrate it.”

With the lobby filled with arts, crafts, jewelry and international clothing, and the cafeteria brimming with food from local restaurants with worldly roots, the richness of the area’s cultural tapestry was evident.

“It’s nice to see the community come out,” said Tenise Bryant, a Horsham mother with two children in the school district.

“You don’t know who lives in your community if you don’t come out,” she said, scanning the packed cafeteria. Bryant said the festival reminded her of ones she and her family attended in their former home in Cheltenham.

Samia, a native of Algeria who only wanted to provide her first name, said the event was meaningful to her, and her 10-year-old daughter Yasmine.

Looking at a tray filled with spicy brown Korean rice next to a stand where a Japanese chef was preparing sushi, Samia said, “You see other cultures you don’t know about.”

High school junior Caroline Hagan was on hand to volunteer. As part of the school’s world affairs council, she said it was great to see such a big turnout for the festival.

“We have a very accepting school,” said Hagan, adding it’s always good to be exposed to other cultures.

The foundation, one of the longest running educational foundations in the country, has been supporting educational programs in the Hatboro-Horsham School District for 23 years, said Rosard.

“We usually raise money for education; today, we’re raising awareness.”

Dance instructor and performance artist Carmen C. Butler performs an Afro-Carribean dance.

The staff of Yalda Grill, Horsham, serve Afghan food.

Simmons first-graders sing with smiles, during their performance at Culture Fest!

Photography by Nancy Tirrell Paravano