One of the reasons why Santa Clarita is an ideal place to live and raise a family is that it is made up of residents with ancestral ties to cultures from around the world. Like those who journeyed across this country to make their home in the Santa Clarita Valley, these residents bring their cultures and customs that only enhance the strength and quality of our community.
To highlight these cultures and give all residents an opportunity to explore their rich histories, the city of Santa Clarita is proud to launch the new “Celebrate” event series at the Canyon Country Community Center. Each month from April through September, a new culture will be showcased and event attendees will get the chance to experience art, food, music, dance, activities and much more from around the world.
The sights, sounds and tastes of a variety of cultures will be on display on the first Friday of each month, beginning April 1 with the Polynesian Islands. The journey will continue every month to give attendees a new way to experience what makes each culture unique. By taking part in these events, you will expose your family and yourself to new customs and traditions and likely discover new favorites you otherwise may not experience.
The Celebrate series kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 1, with an exploration of the Polynesian Islands. Throughout the evening, you will be treated to music and dance by the Kalakeke Pacific Island Dance Company, which I know is a favorite in the Santa Clarita community. Under the darkness of the nighttime sky, you will be in awe watching a traditional fire knife dance.
You’ll want to make a point to stop by the craft stations to decorate your own tiki mask and create a lei to wear during the event. You can also try traditional Hawaiian food samples and then purchase a full meal from a food truck that will be set up at the Community Center. Over the course of the evening, you will not only have fun watching the event transpire – you will also quickly find yourself fully immersed in what is taking place around you.
The culture found on the Polynesian Islands is just the first on the list this year. Santa Clarita Sister Cities will take the stage on May 6, offering attendees a look at life in Tena, Ecuador, and Sariaya, Philippines. An exploration of Indian culture then follows on June 3, followed by Greek culture on July 1. You also won’t want to miss when the city celebrates the Caribbean on Aug. 5 and Mexico on Sept. 2 to close out the series.
The schedule for Celebrate this year does more than just shine a light on a variety of cultures from far-off lands. It specifically highlights our friends and neighbors right here in Santa Clarita, so we all learn more about one another and strengthen our common bonds.
Celebrate will be held in the outdoor event space at the Canyon Country Community Center, making use of the large open field area and event stage on the northern portion of the site. Bring your chairs and blankets to enjoy Celebrate from the grass while your kids play on the playground, and be sure to take time to walk around and see all that the Community Center has to offer, especially if you have not been before.
I am looking forward to the start of this important new cultural event series. When construction began on the Canyon Country Community Center, the facility was billed as a place where residents from all walks of life could go for educational, enrichment and entertainment opportunities, and Celebrate does just that.
I hope you will take time to Celebrate cultures with the city this year. To learn more about this series, please contact the city’s Arts and Events division at 661-250-3787 or connect with the city of Santa Clarita Events page on Facebook.
Mayor Pro Tem Jason Gibbs is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].