Heritage Festival celebrates culture with food, art

By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Giselle Hood

Japanese, German, African, and Hispanic cultures were highlighted at the sixth annual Heritage Festival on Sunday, April 2. The event was held at the Tuscaloosa River Market and featured traditional dancers and musicians, local art, and colorful decorations.

“Recognizing diversity has really increased in recent years,” UA student Sarah Jaggears said. “Being able to share where you’re from and your roots and why that’s important is a beautiful thing to be knowledgeable of, that’s what I find the most important here.”

The festival gave people a chance to try news foods like German breads and sausages, sushi and authentic Mexican dishes. While waiting in line for food, festival-goers learned about the country’s culture and what role the food played in building that culture.

“I’m from Nigeria. I’m interested in learning about all different cultures,” said Nkechi Ozojiofoi. “This is a wonderful opportunity to meet people and learn about places around the world.”

“I grew up in Germany, then we moved to the UK, then we moved back to Germany and then we moved to Tuscaloosa,” Audra Kutzer said. “It’s really to cool to learn about other cultures.”

The Thomas Linton Barbershop collection was also on display, featuring artifacts that tell the story of Tuscaloosa’s rich civil rights history. With more than two dozen booths, performances, and different cultural representation, event coordinator Samyra Snoddy said it took significant planning.

“It’s a year long effort with several organizations working together, working with sister cities program, working with the civil rights foundation,” Snoddy said. “After this event we give ourselves break and then we’ll start right back up again planning for next year.”

The event is hosted by the West Alabama Multicultural Alliance Inc. It was created to acknowledge the richly diverse cultural heritage of people of color throughout West Alabama.

The focus of the festival is to present performances, exhibits and activities that attract and a broad cross-section of age, socioeconomic and ethnically diverse residents in Tuscaloosa and its outlying areas as well as visiting tourists with a primary focus on the youth community.

Categories: Local News