WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It seems people are feeling more and more divided during the current political and social climate. It’s also why organizers of an annual multi-cultural parade and festival say their event is even more important than ever.
If you walked through Public Square in Wilkes-Barre City Saturday morning, you might have seen colorful dresses, smelled delicious food, or heard a variety of music ranging from reggaeton to Bollywood. The city of Wilkes-Barre held its annual Multicultural Parade and Festival on Saturday.
“It’s an opportunity for people of all cultures to get together and experience each other’s food, each other’s dancing, each other’s dress, stuff like that. It’s a way for the community to come together as one at a time that when we’re very divided in this country,” Empanda King manager Jason Fernandez said.
This is the third year that the Multicultural Parade and Festival was held. Alan Klapat, deputy fire chief of the city of Wilkes-Barre, says the festival is an important addition to the city’s special events.
“It just celebrates the diverse cultures in the city. Part of what makes the city of Wilkes-Barre a great place to live,” Klapat said.
Khushi Syed walked in the parade and celebrated her Indian culture. She says the festival not only shows the diversity of the city, but allows people to show off their pride for their cultures, like her own.
“I think that it’s really good to not only express diversity but also unity because I feel like the United States is made up of all these different cultures. And Indian culture makes up a really big part of it and I thought that it was really good that we were showing that to the rest of Wilkes-Barre,” Syed said.
Fernandez is the manager of Empanda King, which previewed its new store opening by having a food stand at the festival. Fernandez says food is what unifies people.
“How could food not bring the community together? Everybody loves to enjoy food and when you have the chance and opportunity to taste foods from other cultures and see what that other person is eating, it broadens your horizons to the type of lifestyle they have and the things that they enjoy,” Fernandez said.
The festival continues until 9 p.m. Saturday in the Diamond City.