Over 50 countries were represented among the diverse communities that came together for the spectacular Culture Bazaar in Carlisle at the weekend.

The two day event brought people together to celebrate their different cultures through food, dance, music and art and was attended by several thousand people at Carlisle College.

Organizer Saj Ghafoor OBE, chief executive of Multicultural Cumbria, was delighted to see the event bounce back after its enforced break during Covid.

“It has just been the best weekend. The volunteers, the workshops and all the people who came along to participate have been amazing. It has been one big party and carnival.

“The Culture Bazaar and Multicultural Cumbria have always been about being positive and bringing people together to celebrate the diversity we have in Carlisle,” she said.

Highlights during the weekend included performances by Indian dancer Jay Naveen, African dancer and teacher Joy Dale and the drumming of Punjabi Roots. The crowds who attended the event were able to share their joy in music and dancing with many of the refugees who are residing at hotels in Cumbria.

Food was provided by local food specialists Hot N Sweet Temptations, Rosto One and Mammy’s Kitchen.

Jay Naveen said she had enjoyed demonstrating classical Indian dance at the Bazaar and hosting workshops which were well attended by people eager to give it a go themselves.

“It has been nice to see all the different cultures joining in with each others’ dances and enjoying food together

“We have had a lovely mix over the weekend with Asian, African, Tai Chi and even clog dancing – it is lovely to see communities come together,” she said.

There was also a strong emphasis on arts and crafts during the weekend with lots of activities for children to enjoy including origami, screen making and badge design.

Gemma Tilley was attending the Bazaar for the first time with her children Lexi and Eli who were enjoying the screen making session.

“The children have enjoyed the craft and the music and, of course, the food has been lovely. The children were really interested to see the maps where everyone had put stickers on to show where they are from – there are people from all over the world here,” she said.

The event was also attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, Mrs Claire Hensman, who said: “Everybody coming together like this demonstrates what a vibrant, diverse community we have here.”
The Culture Bazaar was supported by HSBC, Cumberland Council, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, Cumbria Education Trust, Wragg Mark-Bell Solicitors, Dodd & Co, The Lottery Community Fund, Carlisle College and The Rebuild Site CIC.

The Bazaar was established in 2007 and has taken place intermittently over the years and in 2020 more than 4,000 people flocked to Richard Rose Central Academy for a weekend of fun and culture.