Traveling abroad opens your eyes to new places and different cultures.  Another way to find an international experience while staying close to home is the Greeley Multicultural Festival on October 23. Celebrate cultures with us from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Northern Colorado University Center Ballroom, 2101 10th Ave. It’s free to attend this event!

Since its humble start as a small outdoor event in 2017, the Multicultural Festival keeps getting bigger and better each year.  If you’ve attended the event in the past, you may recognize a performer or two, but the festival is always bringing something new and exciting to the mix.

The event’s vibe is always positive, energetic, and a reflection of the diversity in Greeley. You’ll notice the buzz of multiple languages being spoken over the rhythm of drums radiating from the performance space.  The smell of food at the event is comforting, even if you don’t recognize exactly what’s cooking. The people there are so open to cross-cultural sharing and understanding. Visitors are excited to experience something new, whether it be Native American music, Ethiopian food, Mexican art or something entirely unexplored.

Unique Performances

Performance has always been a highlight of the Greeley Multicultural Festival. One of the things that we have enjoyed over the years is how the performances can be steeped in tradition or expressed with 21st-century styles. We’re looking forward to seeing dancers, musicians, and vocalists representing worldwide cultures.

Since the first annual event, people from the local Karenni have shared their time-honored dance style at the multicultural festival. The dance is a series of coordinated steps performed in a line; the stunning red costumes and music let you know more about their cultural practices. The Karenni people are a Chinese-Tibetan ethnic group from Myanmar’s Kayah State.

Then you’ll turn around and watch a dance group with more modern inspiration, like the K-Pop Dance Club from the Korean Academy of Colorado.  K-Pop from South Korea began in the 1990s, but it has become growing in popularity worldwide in the last few years. They will share their fun and energetic moves at the event for a more modern twist on international dance. The dance style is a blend of hip-hop moves and groves with some jazz and funk thrown into the mix.

You’ll see some musicians play instruments you know and love like a piano, violin or guitar. At the same time, the sound of other elements might be a new discovery, such as the shamisen, a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument or a ranat ek xylophone from Thailand. You may see some gongs or bells on the stage and are unsure what they sound like until someone hits them and it rings in your ears.

Beautiful Costumes and Wares

An important way people express themselves is through fashion.  At the Multicultural Festival, you see people wearing outfits you don’t usually see on the streets, and you’ll gain an appreciation for the stunning clothing, accessories and shoes with vivid colors and attention to detail.  We love how the ornate embroidery of the Indian dresses flows on the performers from the Mudra Dance Studio.  The woven textile work on the Mexican serapes is also eye-catching when seen from across the room. We love the elegance and grace of the shiny ornate tapestry designs on the Thai skirts and the glowing golden elements of the clothing and accessories.

Indulge in International Food Selections

My Greeley is as spicy as I want it to be, with a diversity of international culinary treats, and the Multicultural Festival is no different. University of Northern Colorado Catering is preparing selections with savory, sugary and zesty notes. We’re anxious to try the mini Cuban canapé appetizer to get the full flavor of a Cuban sandwich in a light bite. Try out some crispy pork egg rolls with a sweet and spicy Thai chili dipping sauce for the main course.  For dessert, check out the Indian fry bread with honey to leave a sweet taste in your mouth.  The cost for each dish is just $5.

Health and Safety Precautions

The Greeley Multicultural Festival committee is running this event with caution. Regardless of vaccination status, the University of Northern Colorado requires masks covering the nose and mouth in public indoor spaces. Wearing a mask is required for all participants, including performers, staff, and attendees.

Share Your Story with My Greeley

My Greeley celebrates the rich cultural diversity in our community. City of Greeley staff representing My Greeley will be at the Multicultural Festival with our interactive photo and video booth to collect community stories. Please stop by and see us to get some fantastic My Greeley giveaways and share your stories.

Once you visit the Greeley Multicultural Festival on October 23, you may be inspired to do some more world traveling to new and exciting places.  Be sure to share your photos and reflections from the Greeley Multicultural Festival. Use the hashtags #GMF2021 and #MyGreeley when posting about the event on social media to highlight your experiences to the world.