Earlier this month, hundreds of locals attended the Multicultural Festival at Silver Lake Park as a celebration of the Middletown community's cultural, ethnic and religious diversity.

A few hundred people turned out earlier this month to celebrate the MOT community’s rich cultural, ethnic and religious diversity during the inaugural Multicultural Festival at Silver Lake Park.

The festival was a joint effort by nonprofit, Charity Crossing, and the Multicultural Coalition formed in 2017 by Sen. Stephanie Hansen, which is composed of a core group of civic leaders and neighbors committed to working together to strengthen and empower the entire community.

“This event is exactly the kind of celebration I envisioned when we started the Multicultural Coalition,” Hansen said. “Promoting cultural understanding and awareness means sharing our traditions, our food and our perspectives on life. We can’t do that unless we’re all in the same space, cheering each other on and enjoying each other’s company. This festival was an example of what’s possible when we work together.”

The four-hour festival featured performances of traditional music and dances on the main stage, information booths for a handful of nonprofits and community organizations and dozens of craft, jewelry and food vendors representing a multitude of cultures.

Members of the Sikh Center of Delaware wrapped visitors’ heads in their traditional turbans, for example. Culinary artists from Adda Indian Grill, Indian Hut and the Caribbean restaurant Spice N Nice served up delicious meals. And young ladies from the Do Cairde School of Irish Dancing and the Buss A Wine Dance Fitness Class showed off their moves between performances by members of the Indonesian Culture Club, Celtic Harvest, the Delnavazan Music Ensemble and reggae singer Lena, among many others.

The crowd favorite, however, was undoubtedly the kicks, leaps and colorful costumes of the Bhangra dancers who wowed the audience as they performed to upbeat and energetic music from the Indian subcontinent.

Coalition member Debbie Harrington and Jemimah Ejikeme Chuks, host of “The Jemimah Show” on the Christian-focused The Now Network, served as co-emcees. Several local officials also spoke at the festival, including Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long, Senate Majority Leader Nicole Poore, Rep. Quinn Johnson, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and New Castle County Councilman David Tackett.

Jay Muthukamatchi, founder of the festival’s nonprofit partner Charity Crossing, said work is underway to organize next year.

“There is no question the inaugural festival was a success and worth doing again,” he said. “I know I met many new and wonderful friends while helping to put this event together. I also learned so many new things about my friends and their culture. I hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as I did.”