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Sep 23, 2017







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Courtesy photo.




We Are One Festival

When: Saturday, Aug. 19, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Veterans Memorial Park, 889 Elm St., Manchester
Cost: Free admission; food is priced per item at the festival
Visit: ujimacollective.mysite.com




Multicultural feast
We Are One Festival returns to Manchester

08/17/17
By Matt Ingersoll listings@hippopress.com



 The We Are One Festival is a multicultural celebration of music, dancing and crafts, but perhaps the biggest draw of the event each year is the food. That’s because dozens of Latin American and African nations are represented at the festival offering ethnic food options that are hard to find here in New Hampshire.

The festival will return to Veterans Memorial Park in Manchester on Saturday, Aug. 19.
“From year to year, we’ve had various restaurants and slightly different groups and vendors here,” said Woullard Lett, a member of the festival’s planning committee. “Many people always say they come back specifically for the food. That’s the thing they enjoy most.”
The festival, according to Lett, is meant to reflect the wide range of communities and cultures that reside in Manchester and across the northern New England area, especially the African-American and Latin American communities. Vendors are either restaurants or local community members bringing their offerings, and cuisines have included Caribbean, Dominican, Togo, Colombian, Bajan and more.
“Some restaurants are right here in Manchester, and some come from other places [in New Hampshire],” Lett said, adding that one of the newcomers to the festival is Bar y Restaurant las dos A-A, a Colombian restaurant based in Nashua. 
Each year, vendors provide a signature cultural dish, Lett said.
“One of the things that we try to look to for the Dominican food vendors, for example, is chivo, which is a goat,” he said. “There are actually only a few places around here where you can get it. … We’ll also get authentic Latin American food like beans and rice, as well as various meats … and a person coming from Barbados who is bringing a unique version of jerk chicken with different spices. Last year we had vendors from Togo and South Sudan, so there has been all kinds of interesting stuff.”
The first We Are One Festival was held in 2013 after two cultural festivals organized by Manchester’s Latin American and African and Caribbean communities that had been held from 2001 to 2012 were joined together, according to Lett.
“The interesting thing is that each one of these communities are so different and diverse, and it can be hard to fully appreciate that, but it really comes through when you’re dealing with the food,” Lett said.
Combining the festivals seems to have worked out well so far. 
“What we’ve found is that it’s become not only a major social event, but a major economic event as well for the vendors,” he said, “because [their business] is exposed to more than 1,000 people throughout the day.”
Live music and dance performances are scheduled as well, and some vendors will sell crafts and other cultural items. 





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