Festival Sends Visitors Around the World

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The Ane Thanh Chinese Lion Dance group performs at the 12th Annual Multicultural Fair at Sage Hill School on Saturday. — Photos by Sara Hall
The Ane Thanh Chinese Lion Dance group performs at the 12th Annual Multicultural Fair at Sage Hill School on Saturday. — Photos by Sara Hall

Guests’ senses took a trip around the world last weekend at the 12th Annual Multicultural Fair at Sage Hill School.

The festival included colorfully costumed performers and decorated booths, diverse and delicious aromas, traditional and modern music from around the world, detailed and textured trinkets to admire and purchase in the Ethnic Bazaar, and flavorful, authentic dishes from a variety of cultures.

“It’s the smells, it’s the energy, it’s the music,” along with the great food and decorations, said Sage’s head of school, Gordon McNeill. “It’s just a good vibe… It’s a fun event.”

Presented as a “feast for the senses,” the event featured 20 international food booths, musical performers, dancers, singers, an artisans’ village, global marketplace, kids’ zone, public purpose exhibits, and “fun for all ages.”

The Newport Coast campus transformed into a culturally diverse village on Saturday, entertaining more than 1,000 visitors throughout the day.

McNeill addressed the crowd later in the afternoon and invited guests to enjoy everything the festival has to offer.

The school leader brought along his two young sons for the event and together they enjoyed Korean BBQ, English scones, cotton candy, and more. They also visited the Ethnic Bazaar.

“We’re sampling a little bit of everything,” he said.

For a few tickets each, visitors could try some bratwurst from Germany, with a side of bruschetta from Italy, a dessert dish of pavlova from New Zealand, and a cup of Persian tea to wash it all down.

Younger guests could have some fun in the Kids’ Zone with a jump house, henna tattoos, sumo wrestling suits, and some sweet treats from the Corona del Mar store, B. Candy.

Landon Andrizzi, 11, an Anderson Elementary School student, spent some time crafting wooden toys in the Kids’ Zone.

“It was harder than I expected,” he said.

This year was his first time visiting the fair, he added, and it was “really great.”

Sage Hill students were also involved in the event, including sophomore Cha Cha Pillai, who performed with the Mudra Dance Academy. The troupe presented a yoga fusion dance and a bharatanatyam duet (an Indian classical dance).

Other dancers and vocalists performed pieces from China, Africa, Motown and more.

Also on hand was Shan “the Candy Man” Ichiyanagi, who sculpted candy into bite-size pieces of art. People crowded around him and watched in awe as the Japanese candy artist created animals, flowers and mythical creatures out of melted, colored corn syrup.

The fair was parent organized, with Risa Groux and Anu Worah as this year’s co-chairs.

“Every year we, and our parents, seem to outdo ourselves,” McNeill said.

It really brings the community together, he added.

“From where I sit, as the head of school,” McNeill said, “any time a community can celebrate the rich cultures we have on campus, it’s incredible.”

 

Sage Hill Persian Dancers take the stage.
Sage Hill Persian Dancers take the stage.
Sally Sefami, Sage’s world languages department chair, picks out some Kalbi ribs with rice to enjoy.
Sally Sefami, Sage’s world languages department chair, picks out some Kalbi ribs with rice to enjoy.
Friends and family members take photos of the China booth with the costume heads from the Ane Thanh Chinese Lion Dance group.
Friends and family members take photos of the China booth with the costume heads from the Ane Thanh Chinese Lion Dance group.
A Sage Hill dancer watches the crowd before heading on stage to perform.
A Sage Hill dancer watches the crowd before heading on stage to perform.
Hannah Woodworth, 12, a student at Marine View Middle School in Huntington Beach, buys a decorative elephant for her friend at the India booth in the Ethnic Bazaar.
Hannah Woodworth, 12, a student at Marine View Middle School in Huntington Beach, buys a decorative elephant for her friend at the India booth in the Ethnic Bazaar.
Shan “the Candy Man” Ichiyanagi, sculpts colored corn syrup into the shape of a rabbit holding a carrot.
Shan “the Candy Man” Ichiyanagi, sculpts colored corn syrup into the shape of a rabbit holding a carrot.
Landon Andrizzi, 11, crafts a wooden toy in the Kids’ Zone.
Landon Andrizzi, 11, crafts a wooden toy in the Kids’ Zone.
The Town Square at Sage Hill was transformed into a global village.
The Town Square at Sage Hill was transformed into a global village.
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