As Wilkes-Barre’s Multicultural Festival concludes, mayor calls it a ‘success’


By Toni Pennello - [email protected]



Alexandra Rivera, left, and her grandmother, Andrea Garcia, work at the Puerto Rican food tent at the festival.


Theresa Pearyer, originally from Trinidad, sings along with the DJ as her husband, Tyrone, an Indian, enjoys jambalaya under the large tent on Public Square Sunday at the Multicultural Festival.


Mason Thomas, 6, blows bubbles on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre during the Multicultural Festival. Mason is of Mexican, Peruvian and African American descent.


Jose Luis Jr., left, jokes with his friend, Mario Velazque, on Sunday while holding Bunnie, his girlfriend’s plush toy which for the past 30 years has gone everywhere with them. The men of Puerto Rican descent attended Wilkes-Barre’s inaugural Multicultural Festival on Public Square on Sunday, which Mayor Tony George deemed a success.



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    WILKES-BARRE — The city’s inaugural Multicultural festival continued Sunday for its second day of ethnic food, colorful costumes, lively dancing and appreciation for diverse cultures.

    A parade took place on Saturday followed by a festival on Public Square. The focus on Sunday was food and band shell performances, Mayor Tony George said.

    The food available at the event was just as eclectic as the day before — Italian, Polish, Middle Eastern, Caribbean and more.

    Performances the second day were as diverse as the local cultures proved to be at the event.

    Scoil Rince na Connemara, a Northeast Pennsylvanian school for Irish dance, showcased its dancers, who varied in age. Each dancer wore colorful, unique costumes, calf length socks and a smile while they performed.

    The girls presented both group and solo dances, with soft shoes loosely resembling American ballet slippers and hard shoes resembling American tap shoes.

    Mexican dancers, young and old, returned in their elaborate costumes to perform their same routines for the second day.

    Performing later was local band Moodswing, a funky classic R&B band.

    “There’s something for everyone, everywhere,” said Tyler Ryan, the performances’ emcee and executive assistant to the mayor. “This is something that, as a city, we’re really happy to put on again today. Everyone worked together on this,” she added, pointing out the representatives from local government in attendance.

    Mayor George said he hoped to bring the different cultures in the city together for the event.

    “We want everyone to interact with each other to see that they’re really not that different. Cultures might be different, languages might be different, appearance might be different, but we’re all the same,” he said.

    George added that he feels the event has been successful in that respect. “I think it’s going great. I think it really worked,” he said.

    The mayor pointed out that the country and city have always been a “melting pot,” and as a second generation Lebanese descendent, he has seen it firsthand.

    “We came, we settled in one area, the Hispanics settled in one area, the Irish settled in one area … I’m trying to get everyone together,” he said.

    “I think the best part, too, is that it’s not just people of European descent experiencing other cultures. It’s individual cultures meeting each other, too,” Ryan added, using the example of locals of Middle Eastern descent being introduced to those of Hispanic descent.

    Ryan said that the city is looking to expand the event in 2018.

    “Anyone who wants to join in next year — start letting us know,” she said.

    Alexandra Rivera, left, and her grandmother, Andrea Garcia, work at the Puerto Rican food tent at the festival.
    http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_multi2_faa-1.jpgAlexandra Rivera, left, and her grandmother, Andrea Garcia, work at the Puerto Rican food tent at the festival.
    Theresa Pearyer, originally from Trinidad, sings along with the DJ as her husband, Tyrone, an Indian, enjoys jambalaya under the large tent on Public Square Sunday at the Multicultural Festival.
    http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_multi3_faa-1.jpgTheresa Pearyer, originally from Trinidad, sings along with the DJ as her husband, Tyrone, an Indian, enjoys jambalaya under the large tent on Public Square Sunday at the Multicultural Festival.
    Mason Thomas, 6, blows bubbles on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre during the Multicultural Festival. Mason is of Mexican, Peruvian and African American descent.
    http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_multi4_faa-1.jpgMason Thomas, 6, blows bubbles on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre during the Multicultural Festival. Mason is of Mexican, Peruvian and African American descent.
    Jose Luis Jr., left, jokes with his friend, Mario Velazque, on Sunday while holding Bunnie, his girlfriend’s plush toy which for the past 30 years has gone everywhere with them. The men of Puerto Rican descent attended Wilkes-Barre’s inaugural Multicultural Festival on Public Square on Sunday, which Mayor Tony George deemed a success.
    http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_multi1_faa-1.jpgJose Luis Jr., left, jokes with his friend, Mario Velazque, on Sunday while holding Bunnie, his girlfriend’s plush toy which for the past 30 years has gone everywhere with them. The men of Puerto Rican descent attended Wilkes-Barre’s inaugural Multicultural Festival on Public Square on Sunday, which Mayor Tony George deemed a success.

    By Toni Pennello

    [email protected]

    Reach Toni Pennello at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLNews.

    Reach Toni Pennello at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLNews.

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