Brantford’s International Villages Festival

The Villages are an event that occur annually in Brantford, with such event being very much relevant in my own life. I have been associated with the Villages Festival in the city of Brantford since I was young, specifically the Hungarian Village, and growing up with this cultural event has allowed me to gain a better understanding and furthermore appreciation of diversity within cultures.

I performed at the Hungarian Village as a Csardas dancer periodically throughout my life and stopped dancing approximately three years ago. Since I no longer dance I volunteer at the Hungarian village, and bearing witness to the cultural richness that occurs because of the Villages is quite humbling.

The Villages run for four days and typically take place within the first week of July, from Wednesday to Saturday. Each Village offers cultural displays, ethnic food and entertainment and is an authentic example of the unity that can occur between diverse cultures. Some examples of the Villages that have participated in this festival over the past forty years include Hungarian, Italian, German, Dutch, Scottish, Chinese, Latin American, Polish, Guyanese and Indian. As a dancer I was unable to tour to other Villages, however now that I no longer dance I am able to visit the other Villages and doing so has been both educational and beneficial for me. Despite only being a four-day festival, the brief engagement with alternate cultures generates awareness of what makes each country represented in the Villages unique, and I personally believe cultural education is crucial in terms of preventing ignorance.

It surprises me when I converse with residents of Brantford who have never participated in the Villages festival, and I strongly encourage all local persons to do so. The food is fabulous, the entertaining is enthralling and the atmosphere is wonderful; what’s not to love?

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