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Riverside's 3rd annual Multicultural Youth Festival took place Sunday April 29, 2007 in the pedestrian mall area stretching northwards from city hall to the convention center. In all there must have been at least 190 booths since every nation had a booth.

Visitors had 3 stage areas to watch dance and martial arts performances from various ethnic groups. Folklore Mexicano Del Sur De California, UC Riverside Pipeband, Extreme Fusion Dance Team, UC Riverside Salsa Club and East Indian dancers were among the entertainers. Indian Dancers perform in Riverside

East Indian dancers decked out in their traditional saris stroll among the crowds.

But dancing was not confined to the stage areas yesterday. An impromptu dance broke out in front of the Palestine booth when group of young girls entertained the crowds. Their clapping and singing coupled with the upbeat tempo of a drummer very quickly drew the attention of the passing crowd.

For the martial arts enthusiasts, UCR's students showed their prowess in Wushu and even Brazilian Capoeria.

Flags from different nations displayed at Multicultural Youth FestivalOne of the most interesting aspects of travel, if you ask any globetrotter, is the chance to try the cuisine. The organizers in keeping with the universal theme found food vendors who served a big variety ranging from Italian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Middle Eastern and others.

Children were given a passport which they would present to the various booths and receive a stamp as they went by and learn about each nation.

And in every booth, there was an activity where they learned something about that country. They learned: how to make a craft or they learned how to say some phrases in that country's language, or how to draw that country's flag.

For the most part, the organizers seem to have matched the nationality of the people with the booths they were working. Such was the case, in the Indonesia booth.

Rama Tampubolon, a La Sierra University student, explained in detail and with great pride the major highlights of his native land. He explained to a visitor that his country was recovering slowly from the devastating tsunami which hit December 26, 2004.

Over in the Italian booth, our hosts proudly displayed a replica of the World Cup, soccer's most coveted trophy, which Italy won last year.The host in the Italian booth even invited visitors to take a picture with the trophy.

painted face of a visitorElsewhere KGGI's 99.1FM DJ held contests where he challenged the crowd to come up with answers to various questions in 5 seconds for chance to win movie tickets.Contestants found the 5 seconds too short for most of the questions like, "name 5 Southland freeways" or "name 5 presidents" or "name 5 Inland Empire cities"

A happy visitor to the Papua New Guinea booth shows the intricate design painted on his face.

Then the winner of the best decorated booth was announced and the honor went to Papua New Guinea. This booth was clearly the favorite not just because of the authenticity of the decor, but the skillful and beautiful way visitors' faces were painted.

The face paintings were not by a clown and there were no cute unicorns or other animals. Instead the face paintings looked like genuine designs by the tribes of Papua New Guinea.

By 5pm, the festival wound down and but the crowd remained. They clearly enjoyed and welcomed the afternoon breeze that made the kaleidoscope of flags of the world flutter as if for a moment they all were harmoniously in synch.



All images,story and videos © Peter Phun 2007.To learn more about Peter