By Greg Baruso
Living in the Pacific Northwest, one can’t help to be drawn to one of its annual summer events, Seafair.
Seafair was and still is primarily about civic pride, affordable fun, and most of all community. One of the highlights of this celebration is the Torchlight Parade. This year marks the 69th year of the Torchlight Parade and it continues to highlight and celebrate communities from the greater Seattle’s diverse cultural landscape.
Every year, the parade has a theme. The theme this year was about the celebration of diversity and inclusion.
We too will be celebrating our own diversity and inclusion. The Federal Way Diversity Commission, Advancing Leadership and the City of Federal Way are partnering to host the first “Flavor of Federal Way” multi-cultural festival. The festival is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 18 at Town Square Park.
Our city has one of the most diverse populations in the region. This event will celebrate and honor the cultures and communities that make Federal Way a vibrant place to live, work and play. This free family-friendly festival will feature kids activities, food vendors, performers and exhibitors from throughout our city.
With the goal of bringing our citizens together to help teach them about our neighbors and their heritage, it is our hope that all attendees will come away with a broader understanding and appreciation of the diverse resources, food, experiences and opportunities available in our great city.
Yes, Seattle has its “Bite of Seattle” and there is Tacoma’s “Taste of Tacoma,” but the Flavor of Federal Way is more than just about food. Federal Way’s citizens didn’t choose to live in those cities, and the intent was never to compete with those two longstanding city events or any other regional event. Federal Way stands alone – we have our own culture, our way of life, but most of all our communities.
The Flavor of Federal Way is a multi-cultural festival, a festival of our many specific cultures, and to even dial this in closer, a celebration of our city’s civilization.
According to modern day dictionaries, the word civilization is defined as “a highly developed society; a society that has a high level of culture and social organization.” You see, like many of us that live here, I believe that Federal Way’s culture is at a high level. We may not have the population that some cities around us have, but our city is truly rich in culture and diversity.
Look around. What do you see while traveling through and around the heart of Federal Way? As you stroll or drive around, look at our businesses, our churches, our schools, but most of all look at our people. Then take the time to look in the mirror. What reflection do you see? The realization is that Federal Way has many faces and that includes yours. We unconsciously see things in black or white, but what faces of color do you see around our great city and what do you know about those faces?
This is what sets every city, including ours, apart from other cities – the color of faces and those that don’t look like you or me.
This month we will have the opportunity to come to a better understanding of these faces that you see around our city and their cultures. Come to Town Square Park on Aug. 18 and experience the Flavor of Federal Way. Take a walk in the park to celebrate our city’s many cultures, diverse people, our civilization, but most of all your face and the many faces that call Federal Way home.
Greg Baruso is chairman of the Federal Way Diversity Commission.