Cultures Collide (Amiably) At Joaquin Miller Elementary For Multicultural Family Festival


On Friday, May 10th, Joaquin Miller Elementary hosted their Multicultural Family Festival within Copeland Courtyard. Children and their parents donned clothing that represented their culture and heritage. Paintings and decorations showcasing cultural unity and diversity throbbed throughout the courtyard. Foreign music played consistently at various tables holding cultural delicacies. Many students actually performed with teachers or parents in the plaza, which also served as a stage.

Shivangi Tarkar, actress, model, and mom of two led the Indian students in versatile dance numbers to commence the dance portions. “We performed an Indian classical with a mix of Bollywood. We started with Vande Mataram, it’s kind of a national song of India,” Tarkar beamed. “My kids were performing here, so I came and helped the whole group. I made them learn about an Indian classical Kathak and semiclassical. People can, if they are a customer learning about Indian dancing, reach out to me on Instagram at shivangitarkar!” After Tarkar performed, Chinese and Latino performers (amongst others) shined with distinctive garb and instruments. 

At the tables overlooking the performance plaza, foods from Mexico, Armenia, Syria, Cuba, Korea, etc., attracted many customers. Alice Park and her husband hosted the Korean table of Choco Pies and yogurt drinks. “I have two kids here, 1 in kindergarten and 1 in fourth grade,” Park said. “The multicultural event here is to just celebrate all the different cultures and diversity at our school. My family is half Vietnamese and half Korean so we did a Korean table, and we chose to do Korean snacks that are popular in Korea. We did yogurt drinks, Choco Pies, which the kids are really loving.” Her husband, Daniel, drove the point home enthusiastically. “Growing up, Choco Pies is what Twinkies are to Americans. Wherever you go Choco Pie was the snack kids would want in Korea. Whenever you went to a restaurant as a kid, after the meal, you’d always be handed one of these yogurt drinks. These are definitely, especially as children, very nostalgic.”

Hosting and mediating event agendas was school principal Judy Hession, who waxed pridefully about the Multicultural Family Festival. “We’re just so happy to be able to bring this wonderful event back to our school! The last time we were able to have this event was in 2019, prior to COVID. One of the things I really love about having this event is the fact that we are able to bring the community together and share the many different cultures, as well as languages represented at our school.” 

Photogallery by Alejandro Vega