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Rayjon’s CaribeFest to celebrate Caribbean culture

Published on

By Stella Esengi
For The Journal

Members of the public are invited to Lambton College for a free, fun, and colourful cultural event on Friday, September 15 at the Cestar Group Athletics & Fitness Complex.

Sarnia CaribeFest, running from 1:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., is a first-of-its-kind outreach event hosted by Rayjon Share Care, aiming to educate, embrace and bring awareness to Caribbean heritage.

Organizers say the event is an expo-style, immersive cultural experience filled with music, dance, food, artisans, vendors, guest speakers and more.

“Caribefest will be loud, fun and colourful,” says executive director Heather Smith. 

Pierina Otis (centre) will be joined by dancers Jorge & America, of Latin Fire Dance Company in Sarnia. (Submitted photo)

“The key takeaway from this event is to have wide open eyes about how diverse and vibrant Caribbean culture is.” 

The event, hosted along with the Centre for Global Innovation and the Student Administrative Council, is also an opportunity to highlight and celebrate Lambton College’s International students and Sarnia newcomers of Caribbean heritage, organizers added.

Attendees will get the chance to learn about Caribbean history and culture through hands-on activities. They will have time to explore booths that showcase Caribbean artisanal and food items.

At 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., attendees will get the chance to learn merengue dance from Dominican-born and raised performers Pierina and Jonathan. Then, at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., guests can learn bachata dance from a locally owned Latin dance company. 

Guest speaker Renaud Thomas, the director of Rayjon Share Care Haiti, will also be on hand for the event. Thomas is an advocate for gender equality, actively supporting a rural Haitian Women’s Federation in their efforts to establish a cooperative breadfruit tree nursery and processing factory. 

Rayjon Share Care is a Sarnia-based charity that has been operating since 1986. It focuses on helping communities in Haiti and the Dominican Republic reach sustainable development and social empowerment. 

For more information: https://rayjon.org/caribefest/#schedule

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