Concord Multicultural Festival hits Main Street

  • Sayon Camara Drumming performs during the Concord Multicultural Festival in downtown Concord on Saturday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staffSayon Camara Drumming performs during the Concord Multicultural Festival in downtown Concord on Saturday.

  • Andra McGlashan of Hopkinton walks through rows of flags during the Concord Multicultural Festival in downtown Concord on Saturday, June 24, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Marina Forbes talks to a young visitor about matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, during the Concord Multicultural Festival in downtown Concord on Saturday, June 24, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Marina Forbes talks to a young visitor about matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, during the Concord Multicultural Festival in downtown Concord on Saturday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Flags from several countries were displayed in downtown Concord on Saturday as part of the Multicultural Festival. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/24/2017 10:14:31 PM

For at least a little of Saturday afternoon, Concord’s Main Street was transformed into a parade of nations, the type usually reserved for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

The sound of bagpipes rang through the air as members of the International Flag Parade, part of the Concord Multicultural Festival, carried with them the colors of the world’s nations past the vendors and art exhibitions lining the street.

The festival, now in its 11th year, included food vendors and performances from various local cultural groups. The Childambaram Nirtya Kala Academy demonstrated classical Indian dancing, and the Sayon Camara Drumming group showed off a West African style of dancing.

Leading the parade were community members carrying a traditional Chinese Dragon, a gift from the University of New Hampshire Confucius Institute.

Kendall Brant, who was born and raised in Beijing and moved to Concord three years ago, was one of the people who braved the day’s heat in order to carry the dragon.

“It was pretty tiring, but really fun at the same time,” he said. “I was pretty glad to show people here about our culture and our dragon.”

Marching further behind Brant and the dragon was Anne Zinkin, who held above her head the light blue and white of the Guatemalan flag.

Zinkin adopted her son from Guatemala almost 12 years ago and has been attending the multicultural festival ever since.

The task of adoption proved difficult for Zinkin, as few countries allowed single parents such as herself to adopt children.

“At the time, the only two that allowed me to adopt were Ukraine and Guatemala,” she said. “The children were by and large in foster care, and I thought that would give my child a step up in terms of attachment.”

Zinkin said she was carrying the flag to pay tribute to the country that gave her a son.

“This is a flag in his honor,” she said. “I asked him to do it but he was too shy.”

The Multicultural Festival, Zinkin said, is one of her and her sons favorite events to attend each year.

“It means celebrating Concord’s diversity and multiculturalism,” she said. “One of the things that I love most about being in Concord is in a state that’s (very) white, Concord is not entirely white, and that’s awesome.”

Not far behind Zinkin on the march down Main Street was Claud Rawigama.

Rawigama, a recent graduate of Concord High School came to the United States four years ago. He held the flag of Rwanda, the country where he was born, high above his head.

“I came to represent my country so Americans can know that there are tiny countries in Africa,” he said.

Events like these, Rawigama said, allow members of the local community to see the diversity of Concord.

“I am very proud of my country,” he said. “I would love everyone from the United States to know there are nationalities from different countries here.”




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