It’s a joyful, colourful, and fabulous celebration of diversity, and it’s returning in-person after a COVID break. The Black History Month Cultural Extravaganza will be held this Saturday, April 30 at Centrefire Place (formerly Casman Centre) from 1-5 p.m. The event is free to attend.
The Cultural Extravaganza started in 2015. It is an initiative by Rehoboth Alliance to kick-off local festivities celebrating Black History Month. Rehoboth Alliance is a community-based organization that promotes the social, cultural, and emotional needs of local families.
“We are dedicated to helping youth, women, children, and families (especially low-income minority families) achieve their goals while respecting their individuality and recognizing their diverse, challenging needs,” explains Regina Oppon, Executive Director of the Alliance. She has been with the group for nine years.
Featuring over 40 African/Caribbean nations this year, the Cultural Extravaganza has a goal to “to bring the multicultural community together and showcase the cultural aspects of African/Caribbean countries. Each country sets up a booth that showcases histories, traditional apparel, traditional activities (songs, dance, and play), and cuisines that depicted a dazzling array of their African heritage for food tasting with a display of artifacts from their various countries. In addition, every participating country takes pride in showcasing and educating the public about their cultures. It engages them in Intercultural dialogue by sharing ideas and differences to develop a deeper understanding of different perspectives and practices,” notes Oppon.
MP Laila Goodridge, MLA Tany Yao, and local councillors are expected to attend as well.
Last year’s Cultural Extravaganza was combined in a virtual celebration with Black History Month festivities. Organizers postponed this year’s event from February to April to be able to give its full flair, not possible during COVID restrictions.
“This is one event that the public looks forward to every year because of its richness and multicultural flavour. However, because of its interactive nature, it could have lost its meaning and flamboyance if it was to be done during COVID restrictions. Secondly, there are few local spaces for cultural events, and we were unable to secure a venue after the restrictions were lifted due to many events going on.”
“We want to thank our sponsors: the Government of Canada, TD Bank, CNOOC, Bouchier and especially the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo for their continued financial and moral support since 2015 towards celebrating Black History Month. We also would like to thank our faithful volunteers who tirelessly work to bring each event to a success. And we invite everyone to celebrate with us!” Oppon enthuses.
About the author
Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.