The American melting pot came together in the River City with The World Heritage Festival’s stop at Brown’s Island.
The World Heritage Festival is dedicated to sharing and experiencing a variety of foreign cultures, and it visited one of its new centers for sharing on Brown’s Island in Richmond this past Saturday for a day full of traditional dances, goods from countries like Ecuador and Kenya, and foods from a variety of places around the world.
The World Heritage Festival visits a number of locations yearly in both Maryland and Virginia. After Richmond, they wrapped up their 2019 trip with a visit to the Manassas Museum on September 14.
In addition to being a cultural event, The World Heritage Festival is also paired with the Festival of Kites. So along with the cultural melting pot of vendors and performers came an army of families, flying kites and enjoying the nice weather.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to get out,” said Mike, a Richmond father of two. “We love kites. We love the open doors, so we decided to come out.”
But while some attendees were there simply to soak in some sun and have a good time, many people were there to highlight more serious worldwide issues.
Chaka Trading Co. is a small Ecuadorian-American business that ran a booth during the festival. Their mission is to donate to foreign students in need, and for every Ecuadorian-made product they sell, they donate a backpack.
“Chaka stands for ‘bridge’ in Quichua, which is the indigenous language of Ecuador,” said Chris Perez, the CEO and co-founder of the company. “Our goal with Chaka is to bridge cultures through trade.”
This goal has led the newly-founded company to pursue reciprocal business deals with various countries across the world, including Rwanda, Turkey, and Cambodia. It’s also perfectly in-line with the World Heritage Festival’s goal of sharing between cultures.
“To me, America is a melting pot of cultures, and venues like this give an opportunity for people to show what they bring to the American melting pot,” said Perez.