The Canyon Country Community Center was filled with Caribbean music, food and dancing Friday as the city celebrated Caribbean culture with its fifth installment of “Celebrate.”
“Celebrate” is an event series occurring every first Friday of the month. It started in April and will run until September, aiming to celebrate cultures, customs and culinary experiences from across the globe.
The fifth installment of the series featured Caribbean culture. Guests were greeted by stilt walkers waving flashy colors and immediately immersed into the culture with the drum-beating sound of Jamaican music. Families ran around with decoders and clues trying to find hidden treasure, met pirates, painted seashells, dove into the Andros Barrier Reef through a decorated tent and learn how to do “the bounce,” a popular dance in Jamacia.
“We normally come to every event that they have,” said mother Rosa Machado about her family. “They really have fun.”
Machado brings her family to these events in hopes of educating them about different cultures.
The event sourced food trucks and vendors that sell authentic Caribbean dishes.
Chef Bernard James of Taste of the Caribbean L.A. Express said that what makes Caribbean dishes so special and unique are the spices used in the food. A main form of these spices is known as “jerk.”
“Jerk” features seasonings such as cumin, red pepper flakes and nutmeg. At James’ booth and other food trucks, jerk salmon, jerk chicken and jerk quesadillas were sold.
The city also had its public library source books by Caribbean authors and/or books that heavily featured the culture to bring for the children to read.
“There is no better way to start to learn and explore the world than through reading,” said Liza Purdy, senior librarian for youth services, “especially stories, fiction stories that take kids actually into another person’s life that’s in a different culture. You get to experience something of what that life is like. It gives you a sense of empathy and understanding that you wouldn’t have had, if you hadn’t entered their stories.”
The sixth and final installment of “Celebrate” is scheduled Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. at the Canyon Country Community Center and will celebrate the culture of Mexico.