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Mingling Cultures:

A Taste of Cultures
UNCW’s Warwick Center
March 12th, 5 p.m.
Tickets: $25
(910) 794-4650

EAT, DANCE, LOVE: The Festival of Cultures welcomes folks from all walks of life, sharing their food and even some of their finest moves as part of the entertainment for the day. Courtesy photo.

The city of Wilmington is in full bloom for the preparations of Azalea Fest. The kickoff will start Saturday, March 12th when the Multicultural Committee will be hosting A Taste of Cultures at UNCW’s Warwick Center. The fund-raising event comes together to attract the community with flavors of international cuisine prepared by local chefs, and live entertainment, such as global performances from worldwide artists and a fashion show of ethnic proportions. The occasion will exhibit national groups from Chinese, Middle Eastern and Hawaiian backgrounds.

Hors d’oeuvres galore will be served in the manner of savory samplings from Wilmington’s finest. encore’s winner of the 2011 Best Of in Thai/Vietnamese cuisine, Indochine will be sharing their authentic Asian fare. Their unique style and subtle flavorings have been perfected over years into distillations of favorite Thai dishes. Indocine serves bites from Goi Cuon, Vietnamese summer rolls, to Chicken Satay, a Thailand meal. Their true essences are unmatched.

Roping in flavors of the Mediterranean will be Olympia and Taste of Italy. Nothing says genuine Greek Yaya’s (Grandmother) cooking like layers of flaky filo dough, spinach and feta chesse. Olympia’s food speaks volumes much like their over-the-top Greek mannerism.

Maybe Taste of Italy will share the secret family recipe for their delicious Italian bread that is only bettered by its fantastic saucy counterpart. Their food is made from scratch, the way an Italian family would have it.

Putting zing to the taste buds, hot tamales like La Costa Mexican Restaurant, El Fogon, San Juan Café and Mexican Viejo Grill will be representing Mexican and Cuban zest. San Juan Café provides gourmet Latin American cooking that celebrates countries such as Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Chef Danny Keegan passes down the Puerto Rican legacy through the food he learned to cook from his mother, putting those delicacies on display.

Blending herbs and spices, an arrangement of Indian food will be provided by Tandoori Bites. Experience the inspiration they will be bringing that influences meals like the chicken tikka masala, which can only be complemented by delectable mint chutney. Another featured dish Tandoori Bites attributes to their Indian fanfare is lamb korma with nuts, spices and herbs in mild creamy sauce, one of their many specialty dishes.

Not to be forgotten, Hot Pink Cake Stand will be satisfying the sweet tooth with vibrant, designer desserts. Other restaurants are waiting confirmation to join the cultural celebration.

Hips will be moving as live performances take the stage. Grass skirts worn by the members of Leilani’s Halau will shake as the dancers imitate the motions of the waves in a genuine hula. A Middle Eastern Dance, bringing to life the strong techniques of the Raqs Sharqi or “Dance of the East,” is sure to entrance the audience with an expression of the subtleties of the traditional music. The Chinese American Cultural Association, a nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of the Chinese heritage, will be present. Dancers Susan and Peili Mykalcio, Nadine Boltz and Kelly Hawes are part of the dance groups that will entertain the audience. Keith McKenzie Jazz Traditions band will provide the live music for the evening.

The fashion show will feature models from different racial communities. Members of the performing groups will double as models walking in the show. They will be wearing authentic costumes and fashions that represent each ethnic group’s customs, music and dance. The fashion show will be a blend of color and silhouette as if “Project Runway” collided with “The Amazing Race.”

As a benefactor, the Festival of Cultures will be held Saturday, April 9th, and Sunday, April 10th, at Bailey Theater Park on Front Street, between Market and Princess, as part of the actual spring event. The street fair will be a two-day exciting journey into 15 different cultures. Many of the acts that will be a part of the fund-raising event will be featured again. It will be an experience designed to enrich the audience’s understanding and appreciation of the ornate cultural diversity that makes the Greater Cape Fear region a delightful place to live.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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