Mosaïq Multicultural Festival kicks off in Moncton for a 15th year


What started as a lawn party in front of Moncton's city hall has turned into a successful multicultural festival that's taken place annually for 15 years.

The first Mosaïq Multicultural Festival was held in 2004. Organizers say the current two-day event allows newcomers to come together and learn about other cultures.

"It's just a fantastic time to celebrate with our new Canadians," saidRobert Boghen, the community integration manager at the Multicultural Association of Greater Moncton, which organizes the festival.

"The challenges that they face everyday is something to be noticed but for these few days, we take the time to step back and enjoy each other, enjoy the community, enjoy the hundreds of people who are involved in making this happen." 

The multicultural festival is hosted at Riverfront Park in downtown Moncton. (Mosaïq/Facebook )

Frederick Hryszyn, the association's events coordinator, said it's also a time to raise awareness. 

"The fact that their culture is represented by an association or by a musician or just having their food present on the site can mean so much to a newcomer who finds themselves in a new place," Hryszyn said. 

"We all need that. We all need to feel like we belong and that's essentially the work that we do here. We're creating a space where everyone can feel like they have a community." 

The festival started Friday and will continue all day Saturday at Riverfront Park in downtown Moncton. The day will include a Parade of Nations, food vendors, exhibits and music that will represent many cultures. 

Hryszyn says the Parade of Nations is one of the most touching aspects of the festival.

"To see all the different communities walk together says so much," he said. 

He described it as a "party walking down Main Street." 

"It's people celebrating who they are, their culture, their favourite sports team, their flags, their traditional dress and it's a way to open the Saturday festivities."

Boghen said the festival has grown over the years and keeps getting better. 

"What started off with a few hundred people having a good time on Main Street has really grown into something magnificent, beautiful."