Local Colors Festival celebrates diversity, culture, and traditions in Roanoke

Published: May. 20, 2023 at 6:15 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Hundreds of people throughout southwest Virginia took an international trip to multiple countries - right here at home. The Local Colors Festival showcased dozens of different cultures Saturday.

From the Royal Family to traditional outfits and flags representing different nations– people were able to see a glimpse of the world in Roanoke.

“There’s a lot of diversity here in the Roanoke Valley and that people still want to honor their cultural heritage and they want to be seen,” said Local Colors Executive Director Lisa Spencer.

Spencer says the festival is an opportunity to appreciate other cultures and create a better understanding of each other.

“They’re here to share their heritages whether it’s through performances or through parade participation or through food or just arts and crafts,” added Spencer.

This year the event had a record number of vendors, performers, and festival goers.

Performers took the stage sharing their home countries’ customs and traditions.

“It definitely makes me feel more confident in my culture and to be able to share it (with) other people is something very special to me, because I love to be able to have fun with everybody else,” said Dream Dance & Fitness LLC performer Kimberly Reyes.

Hundreds of people showed their support – including giving Ukraine a standing ovation during the nation’s parade.

“It was very touchful to watch today when people (stood) up and cheered for us,” said Ukrainian Americans of Roanoke Valley Member Inna Payne. “And we’re very (thankful) because Ukraine needs support.

Local Colors Board President Courtney Campbell says showing solidarity is what the event is all about.

“It’s wonderful to foster that sense of belonging for people from different areas and that sense of curiosity and celebration and comradery,” explained Campbell.

A trip around the globe helping to build bridges and a sense of community in the Star City.