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Posted on Oct 20, 2018

Celebration of Cultures: heritage, diversity, unity

The sunny weather on Oct. 13 was as if by order for Quincy’s new Celebration of Cultures festival. The Heritage Museum grounds were filled with booths, performers and visitors throughout the day.
Wenatchee’s Mariachi Huenachi high school band started the festivities at 10 a.m. with ear-catching Mexican music and eye-catching outfits under the cover of the new Community Heritage Barn building.

Police Chief Kieth Siebert, right, chats with Andrew and Beryl Goto at their Japanese/British booth at Celebration of Cultures.
Photo by Jaana Hatton/for the Post-Register

A half an hour later, Arnold Cleveland, of the Wenatchi tribe, gave a more serene presentation at the church. He played his flute in thankfulness, as is his tradition, before sharing his stories.
There wasn’t a dull moment in the day, with Toby Black Irish Dancers, Bharatanatyam Classical Indian Dance group and Ballet Sol y Luna taking turns performing.
Visitors also had an opportunity to try old-fashioned apple cider making and pony rides.
Eight food vendors from different countries had set up their representative fares for sampling. Indian pakoras and Dutch waffles were some of the goodies available. And what would an October festival be without German sausages?
While the festival was meant for fun, it was also an opportunity to learn. In one of the display areas in the new barn stood an impressive exhibit of Mary Anne Webley’s portraits, depicting the rich ethnic variety that makes Quincy such a special place.
“As we look into these faces may we respect our differences and appreciate the meaning of community,” states Webley’s flier explaining the photos in depth.

The Mariachi Huenachi band was accompanied by dancers.
Photo by Jaana Hatton/for the Post-Register

The Wanapum Heritage Center was open to all. It is a mobile exhibit of the Wanapum people’s lives and can be invited to events free of cost. For more information email WNADUSchGRP@gcpud.org.
Jackie Rasmussen, the Quincy High School librarian, had brought 12 students in the Upward Bound program to learn about different cultures.
“They can go around and learn about other cultures at the event, and later share their discoveries with the Upward Bound program,” Rasmussen said.
Harriet Weber, the director of operations for Quincy Valley Historical Society and Museum, and a committee of eight other people, had been busy organizing the event for five months.
After the celebrations, Weber shared her thoughts. “Based on food tickets and informal headcounts, we had about 500 visitors at the event. My personal highlights were seeing our vision come to pass, i.e. appreciating our unique diversity as a community, the great food and performances, the parade of the nations with the flags and the raising of the United States flag on our new flagpole.”
Weber said that since this was the first Celebration of Cultures event, the committee definitely learned some things and will have an evaluation meeting. They have already received offers for the next festival.
The day was possible thanks to backing from the Quincy Valley Historical Society and Museum, Port of Quincy, city of Quincy tourism funds and Grant County tourism funds.

By Jaana Hatton, For the Post-Register