Grand Rapids kicks off first-ever Global Water Festival

Not only is ArtPrize still going on, but the city is premiering – celebrating a very diverse and rich culture.

On Saturday morning, parts of downtown Grand Rapids celebrated cultures from all walks of life.

“But it also helps us appreciate the importance of our natural resource,” said Mark Washington, Grand Rapids City Manager. “The most important natural resource is water – and as a city called Grand Rapids, we are right on the river. What a great day to be out here today. “

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Canal Park quickly turned into the city’s first Global Water Festival.

Native Indians started with a blessing of the water. There was also an awakening of the dragons by Buddhists and a lion dance performance.

Indonesia, China and India were represented. The event also included boat races.

“So it’s so meaningful because it resonates with a lot of people, and it’s important for us to bring in the history and culture behind it,” Washington said.

Ace Marasigan created the global celebration that has recognized so many cultures. There were 17 vendors selling common groceries in Asia, Africa and Romania.

“Because that’s the premise,” said Marasigan. “It’s, ‘How do we all celebrate together?’ Because the more we depend together, the more we can build these relationships. “

Especially in today’s climate with so much hatred and racial segregation. When people learn to connect with others, they are more likely to build relationships and be more welcoming.

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“This is a start for all of us. This is how we celebrate the water together. We have real similarities, ”said Marasigan.

The cultural event took place in the middle of ArtPrize. It helped the community understand the importance of inclusion and diversity and raise awareness so that others can help our city grow and welcome people from different backgrounds.

“And since we are talking about future rapids restoration as a major water project, these are the activities we would like to see more of in our city,” Washington said.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. sponsored the event with proceeds to benefit the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Foundation.

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