rey_andresThe City of Irvine takes pride anew in the richness of its cultural diversity with the weekend staging (September 27), now on its 13th year, of the Annual Global Village Festival  at the Bill Barber Park.

The traditional showcase of at least 50 ethnic groups whose members call  Irvine their home has been been promoted  as the “number one activity to attend in Orange County and touted as the Best Festival by a local weekly and a venue for promoting cross cultural interactions”.

The celebration of culture has been successful in attracting a horde of guests lured by its diversified sounds, dances, tastes and colors of the countries represented.

The Festival traces its beginnings in 1998 when a group of residents established the City’s first Multicultural Festival to help promote understanding and build harmony.

Two years later, the second Festival triggered the interest to expand holding the cultural cum family event in a larger venue to accommodate the growing attendees.

In 2001, Irvine Global Village Festival the new name for the annual event moved to the Irvine Civic Center where it drew an estimated crowd of 4,000. The originators of the event formed the Irvine Multicultural Association to guide in the planning of the cultural mecca which each year was able to attract more attendees.

The signature event of one of the most progressive cities in Orange County after more than a decade continues to highlight Irvine’s cultural vibrance and diversity that has since grown in scope that now includes more than 100 musical, dance and demonstration performances on five stages erected for the purpose. The event also features a variety of international cuisine, kid’s crafts and activities, cultural and world religion exhibits and a global marketplace.

In 2011 when Irvine marked its 40th anniversary and the Festival’s 10th, a record crowd of 20,000 attendees took part in the twin celebration.

Because of the successful conduct of the event, Irvine was conferred the Cultural Diversity Award in 2012 courtesy of the National League of Cities for its role “in developing creative and effective programs, like the Global Village, that improve and promote cultural diversity through a collaborative process with city officials, community leaders and residents”.

The City of Irvine (one of OC’s 34 cities) is one of the nation’s largest master-planned communities, culturally diverse and fully integrated city of 223,729 residents occupying some 65 square miles in the heart of Orange County. It has the distinction of being the top city in California and ranks 6th in America in 2012 in Best Places to live in America based on housing, finance and quality of life” according to CNN. The City is home to the Orange County Great Park – America’s first great metropolitan park of the 21st century.

Irvine Global Village Festival is  a Sustainable Festival

The Irvine Global Village Festival is also a “green- friendly’ event that  strives to reduce, reuse and recycle as many resources as possible and aims at eventually earning the distinction of being a zero waste festival in the manner of how the event is run. The event’s activities buttress the achievement of the eco-friendly goal through the green transportation where vehicles that shuttle participants to the destination are powered by natural gas; zero waste stations which promote recycling and inform guests about recycling options.

Equipping to Serve: Over 400 delegates from all over Unites States of America attended the 16th Annual Handmaids of the Lord USA National Conference held at Framingham, Massachusetts on September 5-7, 2014 to raise the service and dedication to their cause to the next level.  In photo are 40 of the more than 60spirit-filled delegates who came from Southern California. . Their commitment is based on the Biblical account on the birth of Jesus in the Book of Luke 1:38 when Mary said, “Behold, I Am the handmaid of the Lord, May it be done to me according to Your Word.”

Equipping to Serve: Over 400 delegates from all over Unites States of America attended the 16th Annual Handmaids of the Lord USA National Conference held at Framingham, Massachusetts on September 5-7, 2014 to raise the service and dedication to their cause to the next level. In photo are 40 of the more than 60spirit-filled delegates who came from Southern California. . Their commitment is based on the Biblical account on the birth of Jesus in the Book of Luke 1:38 when Mary said, “Behold, I Am the handmaid of the Lord, May it be done to me according to Your Word.”

Signages, banners and shirts worn by volunteers and staff have been designed with re-use in mind. Biodegradable materials are used on one-time use banners. Even the programs use soy-based inks and are dowloadable in to mobile phones. These are eco-friendly measures on the part of the organizers. Guests are also urged to pitch in in the over-all scheme by seeking their cooperation to bring reusable items like coffee mugs, water bottles and plastic cups for beverages; reducing carbon emission by carpooling taking public transportation to the event or biking; using the recycling and composting bins at event to help divert garbage from landfills and to bring their own reusable shopping bags if they are thinking of purchasing items.

Meanwhile in Buena Park, home to the Knotts Berry Farm, organizers are on are busy for the 31st Arirang Korean Cultural Heritage Festival this weekend (Sept. 26-28 at La Mirada Blvd. , between Beach and Alondra Boulevards). The event is one of Buena Park’s “most unique cultural events this fall which celebrates Korean Heritage through lively song, dance and food.

The Korean Festival is designed to: promote unity and harmony through cultural exchanges by celebrating Korean heritage with people of diverse ethnic backgrounds;  provide business opportunities to promote services and products through booth displays and various advertisements, invite Korean companies and government bodies to find investment opportunities in Orange County and encourage the next generation of Korean immigrants to recognize their heritage and find their identities.