Arizona's diverse population includes immigrants and people of Hispanic, Native American, African, Asian and European origins. This wide range of cultures is celebrated throughout the state in various multicultural festivals that highlight the unique traits of each culture. Multicultural festivals include traditional foods and dances in addition to music, crafts and presentations on history and customs. Multicultural festivals build awareness of the traditions and customs of immigrant communities, while fostering understanding within the general community.
The Multicultural Festival is held in Chandler, located southeast of Phoenix, annually on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The festival features musical performances by Middle Eastern artists and traditional dances from Mexico. Food and crafts from around the world are available for purchase. The festival also includes a presentation on the Buffalo Soldiers, regiments of African-American troops twho fought in American wars after the Civil War. Admittance to this festival is free.
Arizona International Festival
The Arizona International Festival (also known as the iFest) is held in late May each year in Phoenix. This festival is considered the biggest multicultural event in the state and features various international segments, including the African Zone, the Latin Zone, the Asian Zone and the European Zone. Each zone focuses on cultures specific to that geographical region. Food is available in each zone and musical performances take place all day. Admittance is $7 for adults and free for children 12 and under (as of 2011).
Multicultural Music Festival
This festival focuses on music and takes place in late February. The Multicultural Music Festival has traditionally been held in Peoria, but in 2011 was held in El Mirage, due to construction at the venue in Peoria (the festival is expected to resume in Peoria in 2012). Due to Arizona's mild winter temperatures, the performances are held outside. Musical acts range from blues and soul to jazz and rock, mixed in with Tejano music. In addition to music, the festival provides entertainment options for children, with bicycle shows and basketball games. Admission is $10 for each car (as of 2011).
Arizona Indian Festival
The Arizona Indian Festival brings together the state's 22 Native American tribes to celebrate their history and cultures. The event is held yearly in Phoenix in mid-January. This festival is meant to increase public awareness of Native American traditions and way of life. Each tribe has an area where presentations are made to increase awareness about the issues that face tribes today in the state. In addition to presentations, traditional foods are offered and there are musical performances and dances.
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