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Most of us have a long list of places we would love to visit, but never seem to get the chance. Or maybe you aren’t sure where you want to travel next, and would like to explore options. The City of Lacey Parks, Culture & Recreation is bringing you the world with their much-anticipated, annual Lacey Cultural Celebration on Saturday, March 9, 2024 at Saint Martin’s University from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. This free, family-friendly event lets you explore cultures around the world, no passport required!

The Haley Prendergast Irish Dancers performing at the Lacey Cultural Celebration in 2023. Photo courtesy: City of Lacey

Free Family Fun in Lacey

“Join us as we celebrate the heritage and cultures of our community at this free Festival,” shares Jeannette Sieler, recreation supervisor for Lacey Parks, Culture & Recreation. “This year will be bigger than ever as we bring the world to you! Enjoy music and dance presentations, learn about various world traditions and sample the flavors and art of the world with our diverse food and craft vendors. Kids will enjoy the popular Passport Game and ‘travel the world’ to win a prize!”

Get ready to be entertained as 18 performance groups will fill the day with music and dance from their home countries and cultures. Performances include the extremely popular, crowd-pleasing Haley Prendergast Irish Dancers, India South Sound Association, Hula Halau ‘O keala’akua Naniloa, and the River Ridge Taiko Ensemble. Celebrate the Lunar New Year a month later with the Lion Dancers – you will not want to miss them as they celebrate the year of the dragon!

The performers love the Cultural Celebration as much as the visitors. “I look forward to the opportunity to have the students get to perform,” shares John Theine, band leader for the River Ridge Taiko Ensemble. “We see this as a highlight of the season and a great opportunity to be out in the community performing.”

New groups will also perform. So, if you think you’ve “seen it all” – think again – this year is going to be epic and one you don’t want to miss!

Kids and adults alike will love meandering through the nearly 20 artisan vendors with goods from all over the world. You’ll also find 20 resource booths full of cultural information and free kids’ activities! Be sure to get your kids a passport in the lobby for the Passport Game. Then, have them collect stamps as they “travel the world” to win a prize!

Kids can collect passport stamps for a prize at the Lacey Cultural Celebration. Photo courtesy: City of Lacey

Sensory Recovery Room for Those Who Need a Break

Once again Sensory Toolhouse in Lacey is providing a Sensory Recovery room for anyone who needs a break during the Lacey Cultural Celebration. “For those who need to step away from the noise and stimulation at the event, this room allows people to regulate, reset, and return to the fun,” shares Sieler.

Eat Your Way Around the World at Lacey Cultural Celebration

Of course, you can’t travel the world without sampling the local cuisine! The Lacey Cultural Celebration brings you the largest selection of cultural foods anywhere in Thurston County.  Your tastebuds are going to buzz with excitement when you smell and see all there is to try! 11 food vendors are bringing you the world’s best cuisine including tasty food from the Mediterranean, Philippines, United Kingdom, Africa America, Korea, Middle East, Mexico, Vietnam, Polynesia, and more!

Ever had a Bulgogi bowl? If not, you are in for a real treat! “Bulgogi bowl is the most popular item. You can choose your own spicy level 1 through 5. 5 is too much spicy,” shares Jinu Choi, general manager for Bulgogi Hustle, a Korean barbecue restaurant that has attended the Lacey Cultural Celebration for years. “As a Korean American, I would like to introduce Korean food culture with our kind service,” he adds.

The Lion Dancers will perform at the 2024 Lacey Cultural Celebration. Photo courtesy: City of Lacey

Don’t Miss the Lacey Cultural Celebration March 9

The unique thing about the Lacey Cultural Celebration is that you get to experience many different cultures once. “The celebration is important because it gives the community an opportunity to showcase all its different parts in a way that strengthens the community and brings us all together,” share Theine. “Rather than each cultural part of the community celebrating separately, we all come together and revel in the diversity that makes up our community.  It’s like seeing a stained-glass window with each cultural part of our community joined together to create a picture of what we collectively are.”

For more information, visit the Lacey Parks, Culture & Recreation website. Lao Tzu wisely said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Start yours at the Lacey Cultural Celebration!

Lacey Cultural Celebration
Saturday, March 9, 2024
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saint Martin’s University
5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey

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