Culture Fest Is Oct. 2

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The 12th annual Arts & Education Council Culture Fest returns to the Chattanooga Market Sunday, Oct. 2, at the First Tennessee Pavilion. Over 10,000 people attend this free family celebration of Chattanooga’s rich cultural diversity through the universal language arts. The Market will stay open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., one hour later than usual, to accommodate the special event.

“CultureFest joined the Chattanooga Market in 2009 and has quickly become a season highlight,” says Chattanooga Market manager Paul Smith. “The AEC team’s drive to bring meaningful and educational content is unmatched during the entire market season.”

The public is invited to experience and learn about other cultures through live performances, hands-on activities and games, cooking demonstrations, children’s activities and a multicultural bake sale. In addition to the regular weekly vendors, 25 booths featuring international displays, information and food will give the Chattanooga Market a global flair.

The Festival will kick off at 11 a.m. with an opening ceremony featuring a “Parade of Nations,” which is being organized in partnership with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s International Business Council and the Hamilton County school ESOL department. To participate in the Parade of Nations, contact Gladys Pineda-Loher at 763-4345 or

The AEC Culture Fest Cookbook will be on sale for $10, offering international recipes submitted by Chattanooga residents. Sales of the keepsake cookbook will benefit the AEC, a non-profit organization that also produces the Independent Film Series, Conference on Southern Literature, Back Row Film Series and many student outreach programs.

In partnership with UT-Chattanooga, AEC is offering a free Flamenco dance workshop for all ages and levels on Wednesday, Sept. 28, from 5-6 p.m. in the University Center.

In addition to the public programs Culture Fest reaches several hundred students each year through its education outreach program. Pueblo Indian performing artist John Jaramillo will spend four weeks teaching “Aztec Dances of Mexico” in the following local public schools: East Ridge Elementary (Sept. 19–23), Calvin Donaldson Elementary (Sept. 26–30), CSLA (Oct. 3–6), and East Lake Elementary (Oct. 10–14). During the 5-day residency students will learn about Aztec and Meso-American history and culture through visual arts and music workshops, and will put on their own performance at the end of the week.

Calvin Donaldson students have been invited to perform with John at Culture Fest.

“Culture Fest is an integral part of the AEC mission to enrich the Chattanooga community through innovative arts experiences,” says AEC Director Susan Robinson. “Over 75 languages are spoken in Hamilton County, but the arts are a universal language that we can all understand and a natural way to bridge differences and find common ground.”

AEC Culture Fest is sponsored by the Chattanooga Market, UT-Chattanooga, WRCB-TV, Brewer Media, McCallie School, Erlanger, and BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee, and is made possible by grants from Allied Arts, SouthArts and the Tennessee Arts Commission in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information about AEC Culture Fest, or to volunteer, call 267-1218 or visit

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