Evergreen Park transformed Saturday into a little piece of everywhere.
At the 2019 Fourth Plain Multicultural Festival, central Vancouver’s diverse population was celebrated with food, raffles and music — and, naturally, an alpaca.
Hoisting his son, 3-year-old Jackson, on his hip, Tyler Bural used his mouth to feed a carrot to the alpaca named Napoleon while wife Vanessa looked on.
Jackson was amused, if a little cautious, around the big furry camelid, which hails from South America.
“We’re a really diverse family — my wife is half Filipino, half black,” Tyler Bural explained. “We like to support events like this.”
Now on its second year at Evergreen Park, the festival drew hundreds of attendees with upwards of 60 vendors.
The festival has a bit of a convoluted history. About a decade ago, there was a multicultural festival in the Fourth Plain neighborhood, but it eventually fizzled.
“Three years ago, a new group of folks in the community who wanted to see the festival revived did their first one in Fort Vancouver (High School’s) field,” said Erin Timmerman, the current festival organizer and a board member of Fourth Plain Forward, a partnership between the city and local businesses to revitalize the central Vancouver corridor.
It was critical, she said, to get the festival back to central Vancouver, where the population could take advantage of a multicultural event happening near their homes. Many of the attendees Saturday walked to the festival, lending to the celebration of a close-knit, neighborhood atmosphere.
“It’s really important for us to just take some time recognizing all of the cultures in Vancouver that make it a really diverse and wonderful place to live. Obviously music is a great way for the community to learn about different cultures,” Timmerman said. “It’s a great opportunity to really learn about the cultures in our community, while obviously having a great time doing it.”
The food trucks alone smelled like they ought to require a passport stamp — the fragrant cloud of smoke that rose from Vida Flare, Hello Waffle and Hummus Hummus trucks felt like a round trip to Mexico, Brussels and the Middle East.
There also was a lot to do for kids and adults alike. The Clark County Mural Society, which is working with local businesses to paint murals along the Fourth Plain corridor, hosted a station where children could paint their own ‘murals’ on blue plastic easels.
Across the park, more kids played with a giant Jenga set, squealing when the wooden blocks inevitably toppled over.
Entertainment came in the form of bands from across the globe.
The music kicked off with Louis Kameroff of the Modoc and Yupik Tribes, who performed a traditional Native American powwow style dance as a blessing to kick off the event. From there, traditional Celtic and Irish folk band Na Rosai took the stage, followed by a break for a park-wide Zumba class. Then Fort Vancouver Mariachi, samba band Bloco Alegria, Tahitian dance troupe Ora Nui, Japaneses drummers Portland Taiko and traditional Mexico folk dancers Vancouver Ballet Folklorico performed. Chevorona, a Russian and Eastern-European band, closed out the day’s music.
Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle addressed the gathered crowd after Na Rosai wrapped up it’s last fiddle- and whistle-ladden song.
“With a last name of McEnerny, you were absolutely perfect, The Irish in me heard every note,” McEnerny-Ogle said.
Then, she kicked off the first round of raffles. The prize, a kid’s bike from Bike Clark County, went to Rosemary Maurmann. She planned to give it to her son, 13-year-old Ian, she said. They lived right across the street from Evergreen Park.
“I wasn’t going to come,” she said. “I’m glad I did!”