Kimberly McCarthy-Kearney, Ottawa Festivals
I adore chocolate – dark, rich and smooth, it is something that I always find hard to resist. When I was younger I was happy with plain old bars from the racks at the check-outs of most stores, better still if it had peanut butter encased in it somewhere.
It didn’t take me long to expand my horizons. And of course being a grown-up and getting a pay check helped to pay for my more refined and eclectic tastes. Roasted hazelnut purée centres have replaced PB and I have boldly embraced bars infused with ingredients such as sea salt, Earl Grey tea, coriander, lavender buds and other edible blooms.
An open mind is so important. When we limit ourselves to what we know best and are the most comfortable with, we miss out on so much. Ottawa truly is a multi-cultural community and the majority of these amazing cultures gather annually to celebrate all that is wonderful to them – music, dance, art, cuisine and more.
Festivals provide access to world-class international cultural experiences, offering opportunities for people from different cultures to meet and share information, traditions and stories. This helps increase mutual knowledge and understanding and fosters community cohesion – cultural festivals are more influential than other generic activities in terms of building respect, trust and tolerance.
There are far too many fantastic and unique festivals, events and fairs in Ottawa to let yourself get stuck in a groove of attending the same ones year after year. If you’re more of a rocker, try the mellow sounds of some classical music festivals, book worms can check out a film festival – take a step out of your comfort zone my friends.
You’ve nothing to lose except maybe a few dollars in admission fees. What you will gain is perhaps a newfound passion, new friends, and most important a greater understanding and tolerance of our differences.