Montgomery County has always been an area of rich cultural diversity. On October 20th, nearly 8,000 attendees had a chance to experience some of this cultural diversity at the World of Montgomery festival in Silver Spring. This included many MCPS students who celebrated different cultures with from all over the world at this festival with their families through a variety of hands-on exhibits and performances.
This year’s festival, organized by the Kids International Discovery Museum, had the theme “Essentials of Life,” focusing on water and its importance around the world. Although the World of Montgomery festival covered cultures from all over the globe, four countries were featured: China, El Salvador, Ethiopia, and India. These countries were chosen for their representation in the metropolis—as they are the countries with some of the largest immigrant populations in the county. To showcase the cultural essence of these four countries, respective exhibitors incorporated artifacts, photos, and large posters at their booths. In addition, many cultures were featured and represented in live music performances, dances, and food demonstrations. The festival also encouraged cultural learning at an early age, as there are numerous activities geared toward elementary-age children, including craft activities and hands-on cooking projects. The World of Montgomery festival truly brought a world of diverse cultures to those that at this time, could not travel to these different countries.
Festivals like this is a reminder of the diversity of Montgomery County, which manifests itself in MCPS schools as well. According to this year’s enrollment statistics, about two-thirds of MCPS students have identified themselves as ethnic minorities (21.4% African American, 27.4% Hispanic American, 14.4% Asian American, <0.5% Native American, <1% other). School diversity enhances cultural learning for students of any age, but more importantly, it fosters an open-minded, tolerant, and worldly generation.
Article by Nola Chen of Blair High School, the MoCo Student Press Correspondent
Image Courtesy of Ken Stanek (Ken Stanek Photography)