The world comes to Aurora Saturday for annual Global Fest

Yearly festival honors the city’s rich and vast global cultures, focusing on food and music

AURORA | Aurora’s diversity will literally take center stage Saturday when Global Fest once again takes over the city’s Municipal Center.

Aurora is by far the most diverse city in Colorado and is now considered the second most diverse city in the United States just behind Brooklyn, New York. And residents who came to this country in the past few years, past few decades and those whose families have been here for generations will have a chance to show off their respective cultures during the city’s Global Fest.

Throughout the day, the two outdoor stages will feature music, dance and costumes from countries across the globe. The city’s History Museum will also feature demonstrations on things ranging from ukuleles to Japanese garden design. The fest really gets started at 1:30 p.m. when the parade of nations takes place, featuring representatives from more than 35 counties from across Asia, Africa and Europe.

“It’s important for our city because we want to recognize the contributions of immigrants and refugees throughout the community. We have 20-percent of Aurora’s population born in a different country,” said Ricardo Gambetta, manager of Aurora’s Office of International and Immigrant Affairs. “It’s great for the city to come together once a year and celebrate everything that’s great about Aurora. We want to celebrate the diversity and recognize the contribution of every person in the city and that includes the immigrant and refugee community.”

The headliner for the fest is Grammy-winning reggae group Morgan Heritage. The band is made up of brothers and sisters who are carrying on their own tradition of reggae started by their father, legendary reggae artist Denroy Morgan. And throughout the event, food vendors will be serving grub and local breweries will be slinging suds inspired by cultures from across the globe.

Julio Martinez, a member of the Global Fest advisory committee, is from Colombia and immigrated to Aurora about five years ago. He said there is real value in events like Global Fest because it allows neighbors to get past the boundaries of culture to understand the core values everyone shares.

In his own life, Martinez said one thing he’s noticed when people talk about Latin countries is that they tend to think of them as a monolithic block where distinction between countries is inconsequential. And he wasn’t immune to that type of thinking himself when it came to countries around the world.

“There are such distinctions between the Latin countries. But even myself, I didn’t stop to think about the differences between Asian countries, between African countries. Each one of them have their own traditions,” Martinez said. “We have people from different countries in Africa and Asia and Europe in Aurora. And there’s real value in understanding the different cultural expressions and traditions.”

And while it’s important to break down those barriers, Martinez said events like Global Fest make sure kids growing up in Aurora don’t forget their own culture as they become integrated into their new home country.

“Our kids have been growing up America, but we don’t want them to forget where they come from, the culture and traditions,” Martinez said. “It’s good to show how different we are but at the same time how we are all the same. It doesn’t matter where you come from or where you grew up, as long as you’re respectful of each other.”

GLOBAL FEST 2017

What: Aurora’s Global fest

When: 1-9 p.m., Sat. Aug. 19

Where: Aurora Municipal Center, Great Lawn 15151 E. Alameda Parkway

Details: Free admission. Food and drink available for purchase.

Full Schedule

Main Stage

1 p.m. National Anthem

1:05 p.m.   Assetou Xango – Poet Laureate

1:15 p.m.   Jubilee Ensemble

1:30 p.m.   Parade of Nations

2 p.m. Strings & Steel

3 p.m. Shaolin Hung Mei Lion Dance

4 p.m. Jyemo Club

5 p.m. Grammy-winning reggae band Morgan Heritage

6:30 p.m.   Simba – African music

7:20 p.m.   Potcheen Band – Gaelic music

8:15 p.m.   Orquesta La Brava – Latin/Salsa music

Community Stage

1:45 p.m.   Raquel Garcia

2 p.m. PASCO

2:30 p.m.   Roshni Dance Ensemble

3 p.m.      International Fashion Show

3:40 p.m.   Balkanika Folk Dance

3:55 p.m.   Mexican Alegre

4:10 p.m.   Eritrea

4:25 p.m.   Ritmos de mi Peru

4:40 p.m.   China/Taiwan

4:55 p.m.   Desi Caliente

6:05 p.m.   Rhythm

6:15 p.m.   Ethiopia – Oromo

6:30 p.m.   International Fashion Show

7:10 p.m.   Donor Alliance

7:20 p.m.   Zuruna Middle Eastern

7:35 p.m.   El Salvador

7:50 p.m.   Nigeria

8:05 p.m.   Ethiopia – Tigray

8:20 p.m.   Peru

8:35 p.m.   Studio Colombia

Aurora History Museum

1-1:30 p.m.     Rapid Ohi’a Death presentation

1:30-2:30 p.m.  Ukulele beginner workshop

1:30-2:30 p.m.  Ikebana demonstration

3:30-4 p.m. Strengthening our Global Community presentation

4-4:30 p.m. Japanese Garden Design at Amache presentation

5:30-6:30 p.m.  Hula show