Celebrating Diversity at Multicultural Festival

Hundreds gather at Miwok Park in Novato to experience tastes, sounds and sights.

Organizers of the eighth annual Multicultural Festival at Novato's were graced with perfect weather Saturday, and upwards of 500 visitors enjoyed a variety of cool displays, games and performances.

Event co-founder Kim Tsuchimoto said lots of young families stopped by to experience everything from singing, dancing, acrobatics, martial arts, a police dog demonstration, a tour of a fire truck and informational booths. Multicultural foods and drinks were available as well as good old-fashioned American hamburgers.

Among the honored guests were Marin County Supervisor Judy Arnold, Novato City Council members Madeline Kellner and Pat Eklund and Novato police Lt. Keith Heiden.

The smaller visitors had their faces painted, tried out a fitness contest, blew bubbles and did some coloring. The , which is also at Miwok Park, was open and giving folks a chance to learn how to make native necklaces. Native American storyteller Alicia Retes had the kids making animal sounds and helping her with sound effects for her story.

Among the dancers were Eddie Madril, a Native American hoop dancer, Chinese lion dancers and Middle Eastern bellydancers.

Tsuchimoto said she would like to thank everyone involved in the festival, including volunteers from , and the countywide Air Force Junior ROTC, whose members helped load and unload tables and chairs.

"It was successful and quite enjoyable," Tsuchimoto said. "It was a great way to spend the day in the park."

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