Jocelyn Chin, a 7-year-old visiting from Fremont, bangs on a gourd drum at one of the booths at the Scotts Valley Multicultural Fair, which was held Saturday at Skypark. Last year the event was based at an elementary school, but this year it was opened up to the entire community. (Drew Penner/Press Banner)

We had a great turnout for our second annual Multicultural Fair, held at Skypark in Scotts Valley.

I have so much gratitude for the entire community showing up and celebrating the rich diversity of our county with us. Despite the rain, we distributed over 500 “passports” to kids and ran out long before the event ended.

I feel this event has various meanings depending on the individual. On a surface level, it celebrates the multicultural diversity that exists within Scotts Valley and surrounding areas with music, dance, art and cuisine. 

For my friends whose families have lived in the States for multiple generations, they mentioned how interesting and educational the event was, that their children really enjoyed receiving stamps from different countries in their pretend passports and how fascinating the dance performances were. 

For the families representing these diverse backgrounds and cultures, participants expressed how welcoming, inclusive, and encouraging this event was, especially because of its location and because it was put on in collaboration with Scotts Valley Unified School District and the City of Scotts Valley. I met several individuals at this year’s event as well as last year’s, who were overcome with emotion. 

So many people helped bring the 2023 edition to life. It would not have been possible without this team in particular:

  • Luis Ramos (Scotts Valley High School counselor) and Esteban Reyez (Vine Hill teacher) – marketing leads and SVHS and VH reps
  • Danielle Cruz (VH teacher) – SVUSD student art and VH rep, along with Cristina Losada and Sarah Hannaleck (VH teachers)
  • Leila Golder (Brook Knoll teacher) – SVUSD performances, co-MC, and Brook Knoll rep
  • Dylan Fleisch (SVMS teacher) – Scotts Valley Middle School rep
  • Farah Theissen (SVHS parent) – a cultural booths lead, along with Karen James (VH parent)
  • Ashley Perlitch (BK parent and founder of Scotts Valley Diversity Equity Inclusion and Allyship Community Group) – food and beverage vendor lead, Scotts Valley Educational Foundation liaison, and MCF secretary
  • Amee Sawhney – fundraising chair
  • Ali Robinson (Scotts Valley Recreation Division manager) – logistics and City rep
  • Tanya Krause (SVUSD Superintendent)

I took on the “event lead” role, coordinating volunteers, communications and professional performances.

All our hard-working student and adult volunteers all deserve many thanks, as do our generous cultural booth hosts, each of the awesome performers—including the SVUSD students and family participants of the Global Fashion Exhibition, the organizers of SVHS student booths and the MCs.

Thanks as well to SVUSD board members, Brian Ruf and Val for sound, Angelo at Dynamic Press Inc., Santa Cruz Public Libraries, all our food vendors, Tandy Beal & Company, Scotts Valley Police Department, and the City of Scotts Valley.

What an incredible day!

Our hope is to continue to intentionally grow this event and continue to build a welcoming environment for all children through sharing and experiencing one another’s humanity.

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