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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cultures Unite

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Event takes taste buds on international adventure

‘A Taste of Culture’ will be held 6 p.m July 18 at DiamondJacks.

Giving children of all ages a chance to experience the world is the goal of Multicultural Center of the South, a nonprofit organization designed to educate the public about the rich diversity and history of Northwest Louisiana.

And in order to bring this experience to young people, the organization will hold “A Taste of Culture” 6 p.m. July 18 at DiamondJacks Casino.

“All of the money we raise goes toward programs for children – not for our salaries – everything goes back into those programs,” Executive Director Janice Gatlin said.

This is the 10th year for the event, and the theme is “A Passage to India,” highlighting the Indian culture of North Louisiana.

Gatlin has been with the organization since 2001. She said she has seen attendance grow for “A Taste of Culture.”

“We started out with maybe 150 to 200 people attend,” she said. “Now it’s grown to over 300. In the infant stage, we didn’t do any entertainment. Now we have entertainment where we showcase the different cultures.”

This year’s featured chef is Gunter Killian. He is head chef with DiamondJacks Casino, the event’s major corporate sponsor for the past three years. Host emcee is Kate Archer Kent of Red River Radio, with Charisse Gibson of KSLA-TV Channel 12 presiding over a silent auction and entertainment.

“There will be other cultures represented, but we will highlight the Indian culture with food, and entertainment will be provided by local talent,” Gatlin said.

The culinary event will provide food areas and booths featuring 26 different cultures such as Creole, Cajun, Native American, Korean, Greek, Turkish, German, Chinese, Hispanic and others.

Programs through the organization are geared toward children from early childhood through high school, but all ages can attend Multicultural Center of the South at 520 Spring St. in Shreveport.

“We are a cultural diversity center,” Gatlin said. “We are sort of like a museum with 16 exhibits that represent the various cultures in the area.”

But they are also an outreach program. “We help with some of the community activities locally, like the ASEANA festival, Cinco de Mayo [and] Day of the Dead celebration in October,” Gatlin said. They are involved with Read Across America and Dr. Seuss parties each year.

Admission for “A Taste of Culture” is $50, payable at the door or in advance by calling 424-1380 or go to www. mccsouth.org.

–Bonnie Culverhouse

Want to go?

“A Taste of Culture” will be held 6 p.m. July 18 at DiamondJacks Casino. Tickets are $50 each and available online or at the door. To learn more, go to www.mccsouth.org.

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