August 16, 2013 in Features

An uplifting show of diversity

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Plenty of activities will take place Saturday for Unity in the Community at Riverfront Park.
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With a bagpipe procession to start and entertainers as varied as Hawaiian dancers, break-dancers and singers from the Bethel AME Church, the Unity in the Community event downtown Saturday aims to celebrate a diversity of cultures.

The Spokane event has grown since its start in 1995 and changed locations, moving from East Central’s Liberty Park to downtown’s Riverfront Park in 2007. Hosted by the nonprofit Community-Minded Enterprises, Unity in the Community bills itself as the largest multicultural celebration in the Inland Northwest.

“Our mission has always been the same – to provide an event for celebration of all the cultures in the region,” said Pat Spanjer, who works on the event’s public relations committee.

Spanjer said the most popular part of the free, all-ages event has been its Cultural Village, where people representing various countries and cultures are on hand to talk about their heritages and offer performances and stories reflecting their roots.

Students in kindergarten through eighth grade who get their Unity-administered “passports” stamped in the Cultural Village are eligible for free school supplies paid for by businesses, organizations and individual donors. Unity volunteers distributed 1,000 bags of supplies last year, and they’re hoping to give away more this year, Spanjer said.

Among other highlights: a career and education fair; a health fair with vendors including alternative care providers; and a scavenger hunt for teenagers.

Adrian Rogers

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane, with an entrance at Clocktower Meadow

Admission: Free

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