Volunteers at the 21st Annual Irvine Global Village Festival Facilitate Cultural Activities

Thousands of Irvine residents celebrated the city’s 21st annual Global Village Festival on Oct. 8-9 at the Great Park. The two-day event featured music, performances and activities honoring cultures around the world, according to the City of Irvine.

Over 30 food trucks sold food from a variety of cuisines, such as Mexican, Mediterranean and Lebanese. People explored international goods offered by over 150 tents spread out over the Palm Court, Terraced Lawn and the OC History Timeline, according to the City of Irvine.

High schoolers from various non-profit organizations volunteered by working at stands where they held cultural activities.

Sophomore Lily Li made balloon animals and gave them to little children as part of her volunteer work for Project Next Foundation, a non-profit Chinese student organization that provides community service opportunities, from caring for the elderly at senior centers to planning activities for little kids.

“Since me and my family are first-generation immigrants, there’s a big language barrier,” Li said. “I got to connect with my culture a little bit more and help people in my native language.”

In the evening, students from the Lotus Bud Guzheng Academy took to center stage with their guzhengs, ancient Chinese plucked-string instruments. They performed “The Moon Represents My Heart,” a popular music piece in China related to the mid-Autumn festival.

“[The guzheng] holds some degree of cultural significance because it’s not seen much in the Western world,” performer and junior Cindy Mei said. “So, it’s pretty culturally important to me.”

At a tent near the stage, South Asian Senior Association member and junior Rithu Madhyanam applied henna on the hands of festival attendees.

“I was able to explain my culture and the different aspects, each of which I was proud of,” Madhyanam said. “I, for example, liked talking about Bharat

natyam and explained how it was a form of traditional temple dancing used to tell stories.”

Freshman Yunny Jang volunteered for the Irvine Korean Parents Association by working at a stand with activities connected to Korean culture, such as decorating paper fans and tattooing Korean flags.