Haverhill’s Annual Multicultural Festival June 22 Celebrates City’s Growing Diversity

Arike Michelle Broadnax. (WHAV News photograph.)

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The Haverhill Cultural Council is hosting its annual Multicultural Festival a week from Saturday, giving the public an opportunity to learn about, engage with and celebrate the myriad communities that make up the city.

They’ll have the chance to get in touch with local cultural programs such as the Tendai Trust, the Latino Coalition of Haverhill and the Nichiren Buddhist Sangha of Greater New England. Kickoff will be at 12 p.m. with a welcome from Mayor Melinda Barrett, followed with performances by Chilean band Grupo Fantasía, Moves N’ Vibes Samba Dancers, the Veronica Robles Mariachi Band, poet Deyah Blank, Marigold Montessori School at Trinity Church, Be Imagine Music Studio, Indian poet and dancer Surya Sarkhel and Senegalese musician Mamadou Diop.

Those taking part in the free event will also enjoy food, live music, performances and artisan vendors. Arike Michelle Broadnax, founder of the nonprofit Purification’s International Enterprise and volunteer for the festival, told WHAV listeners this week about the motivation behind the event.

“For here in Haverhill, I really hope they take away the fact that the city is growing in diversity, and that it’s a beautiful thing to see the city growing in diversity and to be able to come out and celebrate and get to know one another. I hope that they come out with good spirits and ready to, you know, dance each other’s culture and go home just feeling like we’re a part of something beautiful. You’re a part of something—a community that actually cares about everyone in the community and all the different cultures,” she said.

A Haverhill native, Broadnax is celebrating her own multicultural identity as she found out in 2019 her family hails from the Yoruba people of Nigeria. “I did African Ancestry and did my DNA and found out that I was actually 98% Yoruba—Nigerian from the Yoruba tribe of West Africa—and so I engaged in all that I could on Facebook in finding people from there, and found some really great people, and was renamed.”

The festival takes place Saturday, June 22, at Grand Army of the Republic Park, 108 Main St., from noon to 6 p.m. It was organized by the Haverhill Cultural Council and sponsored by multiple local businesses including Pentucket Bank, Haverhill Bank, Lowell Five Bank, Tap Brewing Co., Gustavo Preston Company, Maria’s Family Restaurant and Marianna’s Marina.

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