April 10, 2006
HACC is planning to bring together all the ethnic groups in Central Pennsylvania to celebrate the region's diversity through GlobalFest - a celebration of cultural pride on Saturday, April 29. The Central Pennsylvania Community College intends to build the celebration around dance, according to Robert William, interim director of multicultural affairs.

"I was born in India and lived in three African countries before coming to Central Pennsylvania," William said. "I was surprised to find that while there are a number of ethnicities represented there wasn't any kind of event in Central Pennsylvania where all cultures could be celebrated."

GlobalFest, he hopes, will help Central Pennsylvanians become more aware of the richness of the regions heritage and help bring all ethnicities together to learn and celebrate each other.

Williams said that GlobalFest is being sponsored by HACC's Office of Multicultural Affairs in partnership with the Governor's Advisory Commission on African American Affairs, the Governor's Advisory Commission on Asian American Affairs and the Governor's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs.

"We hope to have a different theme every year for GlobalFest," William said, "and this year we're going to celebrate through dance.

"We have booked performances from some of the region's very best ethnic dance groups representing the Orient, Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa as well as African American dance," he said.

In addition to ethnic dance, William said, GlobalFest will feature a wide variety of ethnic food, exhibits, music and vendors selling ethnic goods. Activities for children are also included.

GlobalFest will also launch Asian American Month which is traditionally celebrated in May. Harrisburg City Councilwoman Patty Kim - the first Asian American to be elected to the council - and Hai-Chow Harry Kao, executive director of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Asian American Affairs are slated to speak.

"We also have lots of activities planned for families including an international fashion show, fun for the children and a finale with some of the area's leading gospel choirs," he said, "so I hope people will plan to come and enjoy themselves all day long."

The closing event will feature area gospel choirs who are dedicating their performances to Han Woo Lee, a HACC international student who was seriously injured in a robbery earlier this year.

The event is free and open to the public at HACC's Cooper Student Center. The entire event will be held inside so it will take place rain or shine. William said that there are still vendor spaces available and anyone interested should contact HACC's Office of Multicultural Affairs at 717-780-3276.

The celebration will begin at 10:30 with a parade of national flags and will end at 6 p.m.

HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, has nearly 17 thousand degree-seeking students and offers classes at five major locations throughout its ten-county service area. The college also offers a wide variety of workforce training and community education courses - courses which attracted more than 55 thousand participants last year.

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