For 34 years, a festival of culturally-rich performances, food and dancing has united a variety of cultures on one campus. UC Santa Cruz’s 35th annual Multicultural Festival this Saturday will continue the celebration with the theme, “Motions of the Past, Movements of the Future” to unite students and community members of different cultures and backgrounds.
“We take from what we learn in the past, from ancestors or history, and bring it into the future to progress, without forgetting cultural roots and what brought us here,” said the event’s publicity coordinator Karen Herrera.
Many student organizations will come together on May 17 at the Oakes Lower Lawn to highlight the diversity the campus offers. Attendance is expected to reach the thousands.
“We want the organizations that might not have as many chances to promote themselves to know they have a voice here at UCSC,” Herrera said. “It’s a time for students on campus to be aware of all of the various organizations on campus, and for organizations to recruit people who may be looking for a cultural space they might not have been aware of before.”
A wide array of food will be sold to promote the various organizations — 22 student organizations signed up to sell food that gives a taste of their traditional cultures. Some of the options include pupusas, plátanos fritos, tostadas, ice cream, korean tacos and panes con pollo, said festival logistics team member Zatchell Fortin.
“There’s a lot of different types of foods and you can just get a feel of everything,” Fortin said. “The most important thing is that you are with your friends and you’re enjoying the food and having a good time.”
The event lasts from noon to 6 p.m. and will include entertainment throughout the day. With a $1 donation, attendees have a chance to win prizes in a drawing. The festival will include live performances from student organizations and people in the community. The headliner this year is Musíca Candelaria, and supporting acts include SambaDá and a DJ collaboration with Bay Area rapper DJ Dahi.
“Once the headliner comes in, everybody gets on their feet — they start dancing and they start cheering,” Fortin said.
Last year, 15 to 20 student organizations performed, and just as many are expected in this year’s festival, said Sabrosura Dance Troupe member and Centro Americanos Unidos member Michelle Manno. She was also a member on the 2013 Multicultural Festival planning committee.
Sabrosura will perform Latin dances such as salsa, merengue and banda. The Indian Student Organization will perform, as will the Haluan Hip-Hop Dance Troupe Rainbotz, a hip-hop dance team from Rainbow Theater, and Grupo Folklorico Los Mejicas, a Mexican folkloric dance troupe.
“We all dance different styles, and it’s really cool to see all these different organizations coming together, and also showing and representing their own culture with their dancing,” Manno said.
Herrera said including Santa Cruz locals in the on-campus event is important to exemplify the diverse community.
“Being together as one is most important because that’s when we are all united and we are moving forward together, like our theme says,” Fortin said. “We are always there for each other no matter what, even if we are at different parts of the world, we always come together. Just being around so many cultures and diversity is key.”