On Wednesday afternoon, Jensen Park will be playing host to the Airdrie Youth Multi-Cultural Festival. The festival will be held in tandem with the Airdrie Farmers Market. 

The festival, which is an expansion upon last year's turban-tying event, has been organized by Youth Airdrie with the support of Rocky View Immigrant Service. Gaurav Jaswal, a Youth Airdrie volunteer invited all Airdronians to come to the event. Jaswal said that the event is meant to promote inclusivity, religious tolerance, cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural understanding.

"Many of us were posed with the question of how we can move beyond limiting barriers and prejudice in society; building shared connections to such events and breaking down barriers can encourage conversations," he said. "Our hope is that [this event will allow residents] to appreciate diversity and foster a greater sense of belonging."

Among the attractions on Wednesday, there will be henna painting for all ages, Ukranian Petrykivka painting activities, Indigenous dances, as well as Ukranian folklore dances, in addition to turban tying lessons. Jaswal said that the inclusion of Ukrainian activities was in part due to the fact that many Ukrainian refugees have come to call Airdrie home and to be able to showcase a piece of their home to their new community is vital for community building.

He, himself said that he learned there is much rich symbolism behind the art of Petrykivka - the unique decorative art style that is known for its vibrant colours, often time depicting roosters or birds. Jaswal explained that the art originated in the village of Petrykivka, Ukraine. 

"It was traditionally used to decorate households and everyday household items, and so a rooster stands for fire and spiritual awakening, while the birds represent light harmony and happiness. So, these paintings were believed to protect people from hardship and evil. I learned a lot about Ukrainian culture as well."

Jaswal added that the folklore dances as well as the art activities are meant to promote not only fun but are meant to facilitate interest in different cultures, which will open the door to questions and the want to learn more. 

"Our motto is: combating misinformation through conversation."

It is a family-friendly free event and will start at 3:30 p.m. and run until 7 p.m. on July 19. 

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