Mason-Rice World Cultures Festival

(For Mason-Rice Families, Teachers & Staff only)

April 29, 2023

Join us! The Mason-Rice World Cultures Festival celebrates the rich diversity of our school community through food, displays, and performances that bring to life the history and cultures of the many countries represented in the Mason-Rice community. This year it takes place on Saturday, April 29, from 3-6pm.

We would LOVE for every family in the school to be involved, either by representing a culture (display, performance, food), helping with the event, or by simply coming and participating in the day!

For those new to Mason-Rice, please check out our FAQs below or contact our planning committee members (Amy Konary, Fangxin Hong, Liz Bouvier, and Ena El-Hadidy).

Please consider signing up to help showcase your heritage.  Signup here!

What is the World Cultures Festival?

The World Cultures Festival features interactive displays, performances, and delicious foods from many countries and regions of the world, all presented by our families.  Kids receive a “passport” listing all countries that are represented at the Festival;  between 3:00-4:30 pm they can visit displays from each country to collect a stamp for their passport.  From 4:30-6:00 pm, there is a Food Fair where you can sample authentic dishes from around the world, accompanied by cultural performances. See the FAQ section below to learn more about the event.

The festival has been a Mason-Rice tradition and typically takes place every other year.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been three years since Mason-Rice last held a World Cultures Festival (in February 2020).

*NEWLY ADDED THIS YEAR – A costume parade! Sign up to learn more and participate in an international costume parade.

When will the Festival take place this year?

Saturday, April 29 from 3-6 pm:

  • 1:00 – 3:00 School opens for display set-up and food drop-off
  • 3:00 – 4:30 Displays (Upper/Lower Hallways, Rm 19, The Centre)
  • 4:30 – 6:00 Food Fair & Performances (Gym & Centre/Garden (weather-permitting))
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Festival ends, clean up

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Where will I be setting up my country display?

Display table assignments will be e-mailed to volunteers approximately one week before the event. All displays will be located in the upper hallway, lower hallway, Room 19, or the Centre.  If there are multiple families representing the same country/culture, we will connect those families in advance so they can coordinate their display.  Note for prior participants, the festival will no longer take place in classrooms, so plan accordingly!

What do I need for my display?

Tables and chairs will be available for use. It is a good idea to cover them with tablecloths or sheets from home.  If you will need access to an outlet or other special equipment, please let the organizers know.

Please take a look at photos on this webpage for examples of past displays.

What are good display ideas?

Interactive activities are always a big hit. Be creative!

Here are some examples of activities offered in the past:

  • Writing letters in a different language (if your culture uses a different script)
  • Teaching children a simple craft or game
  • Teaching children how to say hello in your language
  • Having kids try playing an easy instrument

You might also print out maps and pictures of the country. Bring children’s picture books of folktales, costumes, instruments–anything they can touch and look at. Please avoid bringing delicate or valuable materials. Take a look at photos on this webpage for ideas!

Can I offer food at my display?

If you are interested in offering food, please sign up to contribute to the International Food Fair portion of this event (see FAQ below, “How Do I Contribute to the Food Fair”).   If you have signed up for a display, you can show how to make food, but please don’t serve or sample food at the display tables.

Do I have to stay at my table from 3-4:30?

You should take turns with your partner(s) so that someone is always at your display but everyone also has time to enjoy the festival too. If you can’t find anyone, let one of the organizers know and we will find someone for you. Please remember to take valuables with you. The displays close officially at 4:30, so you can attend the International Food Fair and cultural performances.

What are passports?

All kids are given “passports” at the front door and program brochures are handed out to adults. Stamps and ink pads will be provided to each display. Please stamp the kids’ passports next to your country as they come up to your table!  Some presenters ask kids questions or have them do an activity before providing the stamp. It is up to you how you want to do this.

How do I contribute to the Food Fair?

Prepare a favorite nut-free dish from your home country or culture. It can be served cold or hot, sweet or savory, or a hot/cold drink. While there will be a limited supply of outlets and extension cords (to plug in crockpots or the like), it is best if hot dishes arrive heated as there is no place to heat up food at Mason-Rice. Any nut-free ingredients can be used, but we will coordinate with everyone to label dishes including any allergens. Be prepared to serve sample size portions – most visitors will want to try as many different dishes as possible!  Please bring serving utensils so that you can serve the visitors at your booth.  We will provide compostable cups, plates, and utensils for attendees.

What should a Performance look like?

Anything that kids (big and small!) will enjoy. It does not have to be a polished performance! While a cultural performance (e.g., musical pieces or songs in a foreign language, stories and dances, or anything with authentic costumes) is preferable, we welcome all types of performances . We recommend 2 – 5 minutes per performance.

Can I get reimbursed for my expenses?

Yes! There are funds set aside to reimburse families for display activities and/or food. Please make sure to submit your receipts to the festival organizers by May 15 in order to be reimbursed. Please contact one of the organizers for pre-approval of any expenses greater than $50 per country.