25th Annual Antelope Valley International Multicultural Festival

Alin Folklorico Group-- Folklorico Dancing at the 24th annual Antelope Valley International Multicultural Festival Saturday morning at Poncitlan Square. KELSEY KUKAUA/Valley Press Saturday, September 8, 2018

PALMDALE — Visitors may take a virtual trip around the world without leaving Palmdale, Saturday, as the Antelope Valley International Multicultural Festival arrives to showcase the area’s varied cultural roots.

It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Poncitlán Square, 38315 Ninth St. East.

Admission and parking are free.

The festival will feature entertainment, cultural exhibits, informational booths, art displays and crafts for children.

“It brings joy to my soul to see everybody come together,” Elena Montgomery, president of the nonprofit organization that puts on the festival, said.

Free food samples from local restaurants will be available in the Primrose Room of the adjacent Chimbole Center from noon to 1:30 p.m., while supplies last.

A food truck will also be available and guests are encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy the full slate of performances.

“We have a wonderful lineup of performers,” Montgomery said, with a mix of new additions and returning favorites.

Among the entertainers scheduled are Andria Witmer, performing a Scottish highland fling; mariachi music from Palmdale School District and Yolanda Meza; Halau Hula Okanoelani, performing a Polynesian dances; Aztec dances from Grupo Ritual Azteca Del Sr. De Los Milagros; Alin Folklorico Group; African diaspora music by TOUNKARA Plus and African Praise Dance by O Studios Dance and Music; Alicia Olodun, performing Panamanian dance; belly dancing by Desert Lotus Tribal; Filipino dancing by the Filipino American Association of Santa Clarita; Samba Feroz; Armenian dance by Anna Barsegyan and Chinese dance by Lotus Blossom.

The festivities will kick off with the traditional parade of nations at 10 a.m., before the dance and musical performances begin.

The booths, offered free to participants, will provide information on a wealth of cultures, but none are selling items.

“We’re trying to keep it so everyone can participate and everyone can come,” Montgomery said.

This year’s festival marks the 25th anniversary of the annual event, which has grown significantly since its inception.

Originally called the Antelope Valley International Heritage Festival, the first gathering in 1995 was the idea of Korean American Association of the Antelope Valley President David Hong, who wanted to encourage Valley residents to understand and embrace the area’s different cultures.

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