North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Festival of World Cultures comes to M'ville


Local families can see dances and eat food from other cultures at the Marysville School District's Festival of World Cultures on May 18.

This is the first year the district has put on this event, which is meant to bring many different cultures together at Totem Middle School for local kids and parents.

It will be held from 4:30-8 p.m. at the middle school at 1605 Seventh St., Marysville.

It was previously set for May 11 but was rescheduled to May 18.

"People can come together to enjoy conversation, music and dance," said Deborah Parker, director of equity, diversity and Indian education at the district and a Tulalip Tribal member.

"It will be celebratory, which is why we're excited to do it," she said.

The event is open and free for anyone who wants to attend.

There will be cultural performers throughout the event, such as local Native American dancers who are scheduled to open the event.

Food from a variety of cultures will also be available at the event.

"These are donations that have come from all different communities from a number of different backgrounds," said Parker.

Information booths from organizations like the Tulalip Rediscovery Program and Everett Community College will also be at the event.

The idea of throwing a festival for the community came from Parker who worked with the school district's English Language Learners program.

"I met with our English Language Learners program and we had some discussion about how we can get the community involved in different cultures than their own," said Parker.

They have been working on the festival for the last couple of months, she said.

The night is meant to be an "evening of cultural exploration."

"Marysville and Tulalip are made up of people from what we would call 'all different walks of life,'" said Parker.

Parker hopes that the event will help celebrate diverse identities and get kids interested in learning more about other cultures.

"It's time to have these discussion about what diversity can bring us as a community," she said.

"Our kids have this desire to learn about different ways of thinking and being," she said.

It's useful for kids to learn about those non-western groups.

"We have taught from a perspective that is probably euro-centric for a very long time, although this country has a rich history of African-Americans, Latino," and other minority groups, said Parker.

She hopes that the festival will spur local kids to further integration with the many different groups in their community.

"Hopefully that translates into classroom knowledge or community knowledge," said Parker.

A number of different local businesses and organizations are helping with the event.

"We have been very supported by community members who wanted to help or volunteer," said Parker.

Those businesses include Starbucks Coffee, Rotary, Olive Garden, Panera Bread, Molina Healthcare and Applebee's.

Parker said that if the first year of the event is successful they are hoping that the festival is something that they can hold every year.


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