Around the World on a Friday Evening at Burbank’s Multicultural Fair

Photo: Three Burbank 2nd-grade students sing a Chinese song at the recent Burbank Multicultural Fair. (All photos by Glenn Wong.)

With passports in their hands, students from the Mary Lee Burbank Elementary School took a whirlwind journey around the world … all on a Friday evening without having the leave their School Street building.

On Friday, Nov. 21, the school hosted the Burbank Multicultural Fair, organized by the Burbank PTA and supported by a grant from the Belmont Cultural Council to allow the community to learn about the several cultures and countries that makes up the population who attend the school. 

Children and parents visited more than 16 countries and many cultures on display in the cafeteria. A series of colorful exhibits included pictures, maps, crafts, language, literature, and foods presented by participating Burbank families.

Then came the parade of students dressed in the traditional clothing of their ancestral culture. There were performances of Chinese song by second grade students, a Nepali folk dance, a classical Indian dance by the Aakriti School of Indian Dance as well as songs from Finland and Switzerland curtesy of a Burbank family.

Wellesley College’s Yanvalou Drum and Dance Ensemble gave an energetic performance of native music from Haiti and Ghana, complete with a variety of authentic drums and other instruments.  Yanvalou’s Director Kera Washington led the audience in singing and clapping, while children played instruments to the dance beat.

Burbank Principal Tricia Clifford thanked all the participants and applauded the learning and community building inspired by celebrating the school’s different cultures.


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