The City of Chandler continues its commitment to honoring diversity by hosting the annual Chandler Multicultural Festival from 2-9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Downtown Stage, 178 E. Commonwealth Ave. Now in its 24th year, the City has partnered with the Chandler International Film Festival and Creative + Cultural for this free community event.
Attendees will have the opportunity to experience cultural performances, international films, face painting, games and arts & crafts for children, mural painting, cultural vendors and information from a variety of nonprofits and community organizations. It is recommended eventgoers arrive with empty stomaches as several types of ethnic foods will be available for purchase, including Turkish, Mexican, Philipino, Island Fusion and more.
Performance groups providing free entertainment include: Arizona Art Academy; Axé Capoeira; Bailamos Perú; Ballot Folkorico Quetzalli; Futuristic Dance Group; Greater Phoenix Chinese Christian Church Dance Group; Indigenous Enterprise; Instituto De Folklor Mexicano; Jibaros Sin Fronteras; and Shenzhou Qipao. A complete entertainment schedule is available online at chandleraz.gov/multiculturalfestival.
Around 7:15 p.m., the Chandler International Film Festival will present a free outdoor film screening of “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet.” This film is about a 10-year-old scientist who secretly leaves his family’s ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother. He escapes from home and travels across the country aboard a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute. View the trailer on YouTube.
The celebration also features the 19th annual Creative Expression Competition, which is open to all students who live or attend a school in Chandler. This year’s theme is “Strong Communities: Building a sense of pride, understanding and connection in your community in the face of challenge and divisiveness.” Entries were submitted in late November and the winners have been selected. All of the winners’ work will be on display during the Multicultural Festival.
In addition, the Chandler Diversity Office, in collaboration with the Chandler Men of Action, is holding a second annual event called One: Candlelight Vigil for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, also at the Downtown Stage. The event will include an introduction and speeches by community leaders, performances by local musicians and close with a candlelight ceremony.
After the candlelight vigil, attendees can head over to Flix Brewhouse at the corner of Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard to watch the documentary “Rare Breed,” which explores a day in the life of Alex Dees, one of the few African-American livestock ranchers in the world who helped establish the Brangus Breed of cattle in Yuma, Ariz. Dees recounts his years of experience in the cattle industry and how he had to endure severe economic challenges, racial discrimination and family strife. This is a free event, however, donations will be accepted to benefit the Chandler Men of Action.
Finally, the City of Chandler is participating in the annual Regional Unity Walk on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. with entertainment and refreshments. The one-mile walk over the Mill Avenue Bridge will begin at 6 p.m. Free t-shirts will be available while supplies last. Chandler residents are invited along with community members from seven other Valley cities.
For more event information on the series of events, visit chandleraz.gov/unity, or call 480-782-2214. For more information, or to purchase tickets to the Chandler International Film Festival held Jan. 17-21, visit chandlerfilmfestival.com.
General information: 480-782-2214