Lakeland Multicultural Association has busy 2019 ahead

Iamge supplied: The Lakeland Multicultural Association’s Diwali Night 2018.

The Lakeland Multicultural Association is not even a year old but is hoping to continue their early success last year with events in 2019.

The volunteer-run group has three events planned: Games From Far and Near June 30, Folktales – A Storytelling Festival Sept. 21, and Diwali Night Nov. 2.

They are asking Cold Lake city council for support for the events, with space costs, halving the travel costs for the Kehewin dancers, and sponsoring Diwali Night.

“We’ll have to look at the three different types of requests,” said Mayor Craig Copeland.

“There’s a lot of opportunities there for the city to consider partnering up.”

The Multicultural Association began less than a year ago, said President Evert Chandra, inspired by Culture Days at Hawrelak Park in Edmonton.

“We think that this community is so multicultural right, and yet we have so few opportunities to learn about each other’s culture,” said Chandra.

“We thought this would be a great platform to kind of jumpstart that and bring all the cultures that aren’t linked together.”

The board members right now have a strong Asian contingent but always encourage more members as part of their diversity and inclusion mandate.

“We’ve always been on a quest to diversify and recruit more and more, and we are getting some support from other groups as well,” said Chandra.

The LMA hosted three events last year and hit a home run with their Diwali Night. They sense it could become a yearly staple in the Cold Lake events calendar with the amount of feedback they’re getting.

“This would be akin to Christmas or Thanksgiving in Canada. It’s the biggest festival in India. And it primarily revolves around good food, family time and lots of festivities. It’s classified as a national festival in India. It’s primarily the reason we chose this festival. The name has roots in India, but the festival that we put on here is very multicultural in nature. We bring together our Lakeland family as such, and we encourage people to put on acts and performances that are cultural.”

Last year, the LMA received support from the city and the M.D. of Bonnyville, and are hopeful that since they are eligible for provincial and federal grant funding – costs won’t be as big of an issue.

“We hope that the city sees that we add value to the city. We may not be as large scale as some of the other nonprofits but it certainly brings cultural value into the community,” said Chandra.

“We’re hoping that as the years go by will have more and more volunteers and newer and better ideas to go forward.”