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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Multicultural Festival: Cultures, Traditions, Education and Celebration!

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By Hailee Langowski 

On Saturday, Oct 8., between 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., a community of various individuals gathered at Mineral Palace Park for the 4th Annual Multicultural Festival in Pueblo, Colo. The festival honored cultures and traditions from around the world. Multiple songs and dances were performed on stage from other cultures, including Native American, Ireland, Mexico, Russia and many more. The event was free to the public, with the invitation to bring lawn chairs. 

The event sponsors included El Movimiento Sigue, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Javier Quiñones Photography and St. Joseph Church. As the stage offered music and dance, merchants and vendors set up tents around, while the festival also had food trucks within the large parking lot. 

The Scared Bean was one of the food vendors serving unique beverages relating to cultures and celebrating the drinks. It is a vegan, beneficial ingredient cafe that wants to ensure its customers feel good. A review favorite from the crowd was the “Chile Mango Lemonade.” 

“[The festival] is a really good opportunity for our community to come together and learn about different cultures through musical performances and food, said Vicky Stone, owner of The Scared Bean.  

Stone is excited to be more involved with the community as they are a mobile cafe intending to be set up at the previous Grind Haus Cafe location, hopefully near November. 

Vendors were left and right throughout the park, including Douglas Sterner, published Military Historian and Curator of “Military Times” Hall of Valor. Sterner sold his books at the festival, including many Veterans’ stories and experiences. He has more than 100+ books, which are available in print, Kindle and audiobook on Amazon.com. 

Sterner and his wife, Pam, were the couple behind naming Pueblo “The Home of Heroes,” including the creation of the Home of Hero’s website and helping with the Medal of Honor Plaza located downtown. He created the only comprehensive database containing more than a quarter of a million of America’s most decorated Veterans. The database allowed many families of Veterans to learn of their loved ones’ awards they hadn’t known before. 

“It’s our passion. We love Pueblo and moved here ourselves in 1990. It’s been a wonderful community, and Pueblo is, indeed, the Home of Heroes,” said Sterner. 

On stage, one of the events was the Native American Drum Ceremony. A member of the group was Kamal Shash, also known as AK. He explained his name is spiritual to his culture. AK shared he is half Apache and Aztec, while his mother is Palestinian. He is a realtor in Pueblo and a part of the Native community. He said growing up, he knew his family didn’t fit into a perfect box for society. He understood his family and others were poor because of oppression and genocide against Indigenous peoples throughout history. 

“It was a hard reality,” said AK. Learning his ancestry was necessary when he was young. “That’s how I was raised, to know that we were different, embrace it, empower it, let it empower us and try and use it to empower our community.”

He says the Native community of Pueblo comes together for sweat lodges and sun dances. Explaining the community is very serious about spirituality yet does not missionize with religion; the community does not advertise or does not exchange money during ceremonies. 

“Good people show up; if you are meant to be there, you will come,” he said.

AK shared that the Native community in Pueblo is relearning the ways of their culture, spirituality and the Earth as history has tried to erase and invalidate these traditions. As practices were passed down in secret, and now that the Native community can celebrate their culture with Pueblo, they feel very proud. 

“Somebody died to hang onto these ways for us, or somebody avoided persecution so we can still be singing these songs, so we have to embrace it,” said AK. 

The festival was not only an enjoyable event with music, vendors and food; it was an event that could allow others to learn and educate themselves with new information about various cultures and traditions throughout the world. It is essential that we, as a society, continue to learn and understand one another through community events that inspire and challenge us to grow through inclusivity, such as the Multicultural Festival.

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