Saturday’s warm weather and sunshine provided the perfect backdrop for the Community Block Party at McMurray Experience.
The event, co-hosted by The Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo (MCA) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wood Buffalo (BBBS), celebrated cultural diversity in many different forms.
Several dance groups took to the stage, performing to a crowd of all ages. The up-tempo rhythms of world music filled the square outside of Jubilee Plaza as visitors soaked up the rays and took in the entertainment.
A group of food vendors were set up, serving up international fare to round off the afternoon’s festivities.
Representatives from each of the hosting organizations were at the event to share information about their work to promote cultural diversity in Fort McMurray and throughout the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB).
Vanessa Stanley, Mentoring Coordinator with the Full Circle Mentoring Program at BBBS, works with Aboriginal children between the ages of 5 and 12 in an after-school program that teaches them to embrace their unique heritage.
There are currently 43 children in the program from four different schools in Wood Buffalo.
“It’s important to come out to things like this in our community just to promote that we have a service…that is open to kids that need assistance or mentoring from us.” said Stanley, emphasizing the importance of joining together with other cultures.
MCA volunteer Muhammad Qadri expressed similar sentiments, emphasizing the role of events like the Community Block Party in bridging cultural gaps and increasing cultural sensitivity.
“We have dances from different countries like India, Scotland, I think, and Egypt. So it’s, like, refreshing showing the cultures we have in Fort McMurray,” said Qadri. “So that they know that we’re here.”