Children wearing traditional garb will walk in a Parade of Nations on Saturday as Gilbert celebrates its cultural diversity in the third annual Global Village Festival.
The free event is a chance for residents to learn about more than 60 different cultures.
In addition to the parade, the festival will include ethnic foods, cultural demonstrations and entertainment.
“We have more than 34 countries representing at our Global Village Festival parade (and) two new events with Scottish athletes and Australian rules football,” said Elizabeth Cress-Sweet, chairwoman of the town’s Arts Advisory Board.
The parade is a highlight because it puts on display a variety of different cultures shared by Gilbert’s own children, said Gayle Disch, vice president for Gilbert’s Sister Cities program.
“The more we know about our community’s culture, the more we understand our own heritage,” she said.
Booths will offer traditional ethnic food and beverages, and there will be an international bazaar with vendors selling handmade crafts, clothing and jewelry.
The Creation Nation will offer hands-on activities for children, focusing on music, arts, science, history and dance from many cultures.
Home Depot and the Heard Museum will provide some educational experiences.
Explore-a-Nation will allow residents to learn about customs around the world, such as bowing to greet someone as is done in some countries. There will be demonstrations of musical instruments played around the world, and a display of flags.
A sixth-grader from every Gilbert Unified School District elementary school will share his or her World’s Fair project, and exchange students from various countries will walk about in traditional attire.
On the World Stage, cultural dancing, singing and musical performances native to the Philippines, India, Native America, Ireland, Scotland, China, Japan and Greece will go on throughout the event. Local artists will be on the Village Stage.
And new this year is the Earth Stage, where Scottish Highland athletics and Australian rules football will take place.
Organizers expect a higher turnout this year as compared to last year’s 5,000 guests, said Tami Smull, chairwoman of the Gilbert Human Relations Commission.
The event is produced by the Human Relations Commission, the Arts Advisory Board, Gilbert Arts & Culture, Gilbert Unified School District and Gilbert Sister Cities, who help to raise funds to cover the nearly $30,000 cost.
The Town Council voted to cover any additional costs of the event.
What: Gilbert’s Global Village Festival
When: 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday. The Parade of Nations is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Where: Gilbert North Civic Center Campus, Municipal Center Grounds, 50 E. Civic Center Drive (southeast corner of Gilbert and Warner roads).
Contact: (480) 503-6895