Update: Chesterfield County’s inaugural SPICE Festival has been postponed to an unscheduled date in 2022 due to a “rise in COVID-19 cases throughout” Chesterfield, according to a tweet from the county.
Chesterfield County and the Perkinson Center for the Arts & Education will launch a multicultural festival to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism in the county.
Taking place over two days in August, the first SPICE – Sharing Practices of International Cultures Through Engagement – cultural festival will feature a host of free events including live music, art gallery exhibitions, cultural performances, guest speakers and crafts.
The Perkinson Center, which had its virtual grand opening in December 2020, opened its doors this month for in-person performances.
Art is an important aspect in many cultures, which the festival seeks to celebrate through community participation and engagement, said Dalila Medrano, Chesterfield’s Multicultural Engagement Coordinator.
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“Our hope is that people can attend our festival and not just observe other cultures,” she said, “but can really engage with our diverse communities.”
There will be various opportunities for people to learn about the various communities that are found in the county. In a classroom-like setting, performers – through their instruments – can share and teach different elements of their culture.
As Chesterfield becomes increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, Medrano hopes the festival will serve as a community gathering place to celebrate its diverse population for years to come.
While the county remains predominantly white, it has seen a surge in population among minority groups over the past four decades, according to its population report.
Black residents make up about 23% of the population, fivefold since 1980. Asians make up more than 3%, increasing the population nearly 12 times since 1980. The Latino population has grown more than 20 times since 1980, while constituting about 9% of the population. the overall population of the department.
Local multicultural organizations took part in the planning process and will participate in the festival, Medrano said, with plans for local musicians and cultural dance groups to take the stage. In addition to crafts and entertainment, food from local restaurants will be available through food trucks.
Cultural organizations, such as the Vietnamese Community of Central Virginia and the Central Virginia Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, will have stations featuring cultural artifacts as well as traditional crafts and games.
The Chester Library will host a craft station where people “can create African Kente fabrics, Japanese fans and Russian nesting dolls”.
Participants can buy from local businesses at vendor booths and can receive resources from non-profit organizations such as ReEstablish Richmond, a refugee resettlement organization, and the Asian and Latino Solidarity Alliance, a defense of interests.
The animations of the first day will take place in the evening with two animations. Day two is an all-day festival, with shows and activities on three main stages: the Jimmy Dean Theatre, the Panchita Cline Patio and the Village Green.
In Medrano’s previous roles, she has worked in various non-profit organizations serving immigrant and refugee communities in the Richmond area. She said there was a desire to have a space to celebrate the county’s diverse communities.
SPICE is the result of a collaboration between Chesterfield and the Perkinson Center. Medrano said that during planning, the name was chosen based on what the festival strives to embody.
“We knew we wanted the festival to be rooted in the arts and rooted in some sort of community participation and engagement,” she said. “And I think it was one of those kind of aha moments.”
One of the main ways the SPICE cultural festival tries to culminate community engagement is through an arts project, Medrano said. With the help of local artists, participants will create a giant work of art “that will ultimately reflect our diverse communities.”
The SPICE Cultural Festival will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on August 13 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on August 14 at the Perkinson Center at 11810 Center St. in Chester. The festival is accepting vendor booth applications at chesterfield.gov/5404/SPICE-Cultural-Festival.