RPB Cultural Diversity Day Returning To Veterans Park May 7

On Saturday, May 7, Veterans Park in Royal Palm Beach will be the place to be for fun, food, dancing, entertainment and, most importantly, learning about and celebrating different cultures.

Caribbean-Americans for Community Involvement (CAFCI) has teamed up with the Village of Royal Palm Beach once again to hold the annual Cultural Diversity Day, a free community event.

Event organizer Elet Cyris, CAFCI’s cultural director, is looking forward to Cultural Diversity Day. “We have a diverse group of entertainers,” she said. “I’m looking forward to having more vendors and a good program.”

Although the event begins at 1 p.m., just in time for attendees to enjoy lunch from one of the food vendors and then get settled, the show starts at 3 p.m., with festivities continuing until sundown.

A special parade with flags and traditional clothing, in which members of the audience are invited to participate, will take place before the show begins with opening remarks by Royal Palm Beach Mayor Fred Pinto, said Jalissa Sutton, special events coordinator for Royal Palm Beach.

The parade will signal the beginning of the event, letting those shopping know that things are about to start.

Many cultures will be represented at Cultural Diversity Day. There will be an Indian group, an Irish group, Chinese lion dancers, belly dancers, a Reggae band, a drummer from the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Ernietones and more.

Arts and crafts vendors will be around the amphitheater, and food vendors, representing American, Caribbean and Island cuisines, will be at the other side, allowing for an international culinary tour.

There is a group that plays dominos, Cyris said, along with Face Art by Daisy from 4 to 6 p.m., a stilt walker/balloon artist, a bounce house, music by A-Tribe with Australian instruments and more to entertain youngsters. “There’s something for all ages,” Cyris said.

The premise behind Cultural Diversity Day is to embrace and share different cultures. “It is introducing the different cultures of a diverse group from other countries,” Cyris said. “That’s what’s important, that we grow to understand each other and respect each other.”

With more than a decade of Cultural Diversity Day events under their belts, CAFCI and Royal Palm Beach are proud of what the event has accomplished.

“It was created for an awareness of all of the different cultures in Royal Palm Beach and all over. There are a number of us — the Filipinos, the Cubans, the Jamaicans, the Haitians — and people get to understand what we represent,” Cyris said. “We have, together with the village and CAFCI, a diverse group that comes together. I think we have made strides.”

Cultural Diversity Day is a day filled with fun and joy.

“With Cultural Diversity Day, I’m really looking forward to the diversity,” Sutton said. “I enjoy seeing a lot of difficult cultures, and just people in general, coming together to celebrate where they’ve come from and honor their heritage. Everyone gets to be enlightened and educated about other cultures, as well as participating with their traditions.”

Panther Run Elementary School students will play steel drums, opening up the performance section. Sutton is looking forward to the karate demonstrations and the German folk dancing group, along with the rest of the performers, including the Ni Ma Lion Dance Performing Team.

“It’s really a little bit of everything. We tried to cover as many cultures as we could, so that everyone got some time to celebrate on stage,” Sutton said. “I’m looking forward to everyone going there and coming away with something they didn’t have before, whether that’s just them learning about another culture, or indulging in a different experience that they’ve never opened up their minds to before.”

For example, Sutton noted that she has never seen a German folk dance group do a pole dance. “It’s something out of the ordinary,” she said. “And I think that’s what is beautiful about culture; you’re learning, and you get to experience different things that are out of your comfort zone or out of what is normal for you.”

Additional parking will be available at Royal Palm Beach Village Hall, with a shuttle bringing participants to the park. It is also suggested that attendees bring chairs and blankets in preparation for having a good time.

“We’re excited to be once again working with CAFCI on this event,” Sutton said. “We have a lot of people participating, and a lot of people interested in going.”

Cyris invited the community to come out and experience a fun, diverse day with friends and family.

For more information, call Cyris at (561) 791-9087, Ernie Garvey at (561) 676-5664, or the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center at (561) 790-5149.