In celebration of America’s diversity, the first annual Hillsborough County Diversity Festival was held at the Joe Chillura Courthouse Square, April 16, 2016. The turn out was extremely successful with at least 400 people in attendance. The atmosphere was at a constant high, full of fun and laughter. The event opened at 11 o’clock with a speech from the Diversity Council Chairman Mr. Hung Mai, followed by the Color Guard, the National Anthem, and “God Bless the USA” sung by Ann Poonkasem. Mayor of the city of Temple Terrace Frank Chillura truly set the tone of the event with his speech stressing the need for a community based on respect and understanding. There were over 30 booths reflecting the African-American, Asian, European, Indian, Islamic, Hispanic, Native American, and LGBT community.

Entertainment ran from 12 to 2:30. A few highlights were the Dragon Dance (Chinese Community), Fashion show (Vietnamese Community), New Year Celebratory Dance (Laos Community), “Wash Woman” Dance (Trinidad’s Francisca), “You Matter to Me” (Costa Rica’s Maria Lopez and Audia Rodriguez), and “Consider Yourself” from the Broadway show “Oliver” (Pyramid Players Chorus- Pyramid Adult Learning Center). The event ended with a unifying samba dance lead by the Dominican community joined by many members from the audience. They all joyously shared the stage, dancing and smiling, truly embodying the purpose of this event.

Article: Jessica Collier

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