Baha'i News -- Two free festivals share goal of uniting all members of community

Portland News

Two free festivals share goal of uniting all members of community

07/26/02

WADE NKRUMAH

Free organized activities and fun Saturday will beckon Portlanders into North and Southeast.

In North Portland, the fifth annual Race Unity Festival will be at Portland Community College's Cascade campus in the 700 block of North Killingsworth Street.

In Southeast, "A String of Pearls," the 10th annual Division/Clinton Street Fair, will be on Division between 16th and 36th avenues, and at the intersection of 26th Avenue and Clinton.

Both events start at 11 a.m. Although organized and staged independently, they share a common goal: community bonding and building.

In fact, Unity Festival is as much about education as entertainment for Loie Mead, a member of the planning committee for the festival, which is sponsored by Spiritual Assembly of Bahai'isof Portland.

"The purpose of the Race Unity Festival is to really enable people to have contact with one another, people from all different cultural backgrounds, all different ethnic backgrounds," she said. "And to really grow and develop the bonds of friendship and affinity."

Festival fare will include food, dance, drumming, music and song. It will mix with children-specific activities, interactive cultural displays and a panel discussion: "Delights and Dilemmas of Being a Member of My Culture."

"One of the things that we will really be considering is that this whole festival is actually initiating or launching the youth work in race unity, which lies ahead of all of Portland," Mead said.

"We need to be very concerted in our efforts. We need to be very consciously pressing the educational opportunities for getting better acquainted with one another and really generating true unity in our community."

At the Division/Clinton Street Fair, Jason Fayen will use his DJ skills to bring the community together during "City Dance."

"It was my idea," he said. "I put it together, and I made it fly. The cost is nothing. It's a community event, and it's free."

The event, co-sponsored by Fayen and KBOO radio, will be from 2 to 10 p.m. at 26th and Clinton. The street fair also will feature a parade, face painters, food, pony rides and sidewalk sales.

It will start with live music from 2 to 5 p.m. Fayen, who DJs under the name Breeze, will spin tunes from 5 to 9:30 p.m. The dance will end with a fire dance performance at 9:30 p.m.

"I'm kinda obsessed with music and making people dance," Fayen said.

He has lived in the neighborhood on Clinton for three years and is excited about staging the dance at the 26th and Clinton intersection.

"It's a beautiful example of human-scale architecture in the city because it has small businesses in a residential area," he said. "And I really appreciate that. . . . I've always been inspired by the potential of the acoustics of having a street dance there."


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