Every year on the third Saturday of August, First Presbyterian Church holds a city-wide multicultural festival to "celebrate diversity and reach beyond ourselves". Thousands of visitors come to enjoy a day of cultural activities at different booths, watch a variety of shows and enjoy ethnic foods of different origins.
It all started in 1999, when First Presbyterian Church Session approved the proposal of Winny Lin, a Chinese-American member who later became an elder. Two other elders, Marisue Coy and Helen Sears, plus Winny on the Planning Committee led the whole congregation into a new ministry. Through the years, leadership changes, Linda Young, Mary Dixon Baker, Creda Heffelfinger, and Marna Loucks all served on the Planning Committee. Now Debbie McCoy has agreed to lead on and Sharon Knight, Cindy Little, and Larry Hale are taking charge of booths and food court. Many church families contribute their time and talents on that whole day to serve. Children have grown with more understanding of others' culture and heritage.
What is more? Many public schools teachers send their students to visit the festival, since it coincides with the core content of diversity in their curriculum. In 2013 the festival was chosen as one of the top 10 summer festivals in Kentucky by Kentucky Tourism Commission.
The 14th Annual Multicultural Festival was held on August 18th, 2012, from noon until 6 p.m. Even before the opening ceremony, people strolled on the lawn of First Presbyterian Church to the sound of a bluegrass band. Over 30 booths representing Native Americans, Czech, Haiti, Central America, Japan, China, Philippines, Slovakia, Scotland and Ireland offered artifacts and information about their countries. Children and adults moved from booth to booth to find the answers to the multicultural quiz, as well as collect scavenger hunt items such as Scottish shortbread, a Chinese seal, Irish shamrocks and dried mango Tamarind.
To enhance the festive atmosphere, shows were held on two stages every half-hour. There were dances by local Chinese, the Asian Indians, the Filipinos, and Kentucky cloggers. Bands performed, choirs sang, and karate students showed off their martial art skills.
Food was a great attraction. The food court offered a taste of Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Indian, and American cuisine. Find out what is your favorite.
All of this was made possible with countless hours of work by volunteers of FPC and hundreds of community volunteers including Boy Scout Troop 611, students from area high schools, members of many churches of all denominations, and numerous local organizations. What an opportunity to learn about one another in such a fun setting! After all, the United States of America is a melting pot.