The City of Irvine, one of the 34 cities comprising the County of Orange, is not only one of the nation’s largest master-planned communities, culturally diverse and fully integrated city of 250,384 residents but also holds the distinction of being ranked as the top city in California and listed as one of the Best Places to live in America of CNN Magazine of 2012.
Irvine has grown strategically into one of the safest cities in the country since its incorporation in 1971 and has been at the forefront “of promoting environmental stewardship, state-of-the-art transportation programs and systems, an enterprising business environment and an enviable high quality of life”.
Irvine as a family-friendly city has more than 16,000 acres of parks, sports fields and dedicated open space. It is also home to the Orange County Great Park – the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century.
Global Village Festival
All roads lead to Bill Barber Park at the Civic Plaza on September 26 as people of many nations converge for a day-long celebration at the 14th edition of Irvine’s annual Global Village Festival.
For many years, thousands have trekked to this venue to celebrate the city’s diversity that mirrors the cultural tapestry of California. In one day, visitors get a good glimpse the richness and color of some 50 cultures that make up the population of the city in a multicultural event that features international cuisine, live entertainment, and a kid’s village complete with crafts and activities, cultural and religious exhibits and an international market.
What started in 1998 as an event called Multicultural Festival “to help promote understanding and build harmony within cultures” has blossomed into an award winning event that has become the signature feature of the city to celebrate its rich diversity.
The larger venue in the succeeding years enabled the Festival to accommodate thousands of visitors eager to lean of each other’s cultural intricacies. The pioneering organizers later on formed the Irvine Multicultural Association to manage the annual event which grew in scope and attendance every year.
Irvine Global Village Festival was voted “Best Festival” by OC Weekly in 2009.Two years later, on the 40th anniversary for the City of Irvine and the 10th anniversary of the Festival, which was a record year when more than 20,000 visitors graced the event, a new feature was incorporated, the United Nations Art Miles Mural Project for younger guests “to promote global peace by painting their own message of non-violence.
For improving and promoting cultural diversity and its role in developing creative and effective programs like the Global Village Festival, the City of Irvine was conferred the “Cultural Diversity Award” in 2012 by the National League of Cities.
The Global Village Festival, offered free to the public, is also noted for being a “sustainable festival” taking advantage of the opportunity to educate the public on how to take care of their environment. With its goal of ultimate being a “zero waste festival” the annual celebrations strives “to reduce, reuse and recycle may resources as possible”.
Among the features of the sustainable Festival include Green Transportation (shuttles powered by natural gas that provide lower emission), Zero Waste Stations and use of bio-degradable materials for signage and banners, among others.