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25150: Hermantin(News) More spice for creole stew (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <email@example.com>
Posted on Fri, May. 20, 2005
FORT LAUDERDALE FESTIVAL
More spice for creole stew
Group organizers seek to expand event's cultural base
BY DARRAN SIMON
When Eric Boucicaut moved his cultural arts organization from Haiti to South
Florida in 1997, he envisioned reaching more than just fellow Haitian
After building a base in the Haitian community, ACTION Foundation hopes to
appeal to other cultures during its first annual International Creole Fest
next week in Fort Lauderdale.
''The aim of the festival is to unite everyone from different Creole
cultures under one platform,'' said Boucicaut, president and founder of the
The outdoor fest, from May 28 to May 29 in Esplanade Park on the Riverwalk
in downtown, features art exhibits, restaurants and musicians playing Zouk,
Zydeco, Calypso and other genres. A forum on May 28 looks at the evolution
of Creole culture and globalization.
It will be the second time a celebration of Creole culture is held on the
Riverwalk in its 11-year history, said Susan Molnar, Fort Lauderdale's
outdoor event coordinator.
A Haitian Flag Day celebration was held in Huizenga Plaza in 2003, Molnar
Organizers hope the fest will educate South Floridians about the Creole
culture. ''Something beautiful is going to come out, and it's going to
create an awareness that we are all influenced by other cultures,''
Boucicaut said, adding, ``Most of the time, we are not aware of it.''
Creole is a language and culture born from the blending of European,
African, Indian, Amerindian and Asian cultures that started during days of
This year features regions with roots that are a mix of French and West
Organizers say 400,000 French-speaking Creole people live in South Florida
-- most of whom have Haitian roots.
Broward County, Fort Lauderdale and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention
and Visitors Bureau have all thrown their support behind the project.
Boucicaut hopes the fest can pump about $800,000 into the Fort Lauderdale
economy this year. Organizers want to draw more people to Fort Lauderdale
for cultural events, he said.
The fest ''provides a new avenue for different cultures to see and know
about Broward County,'' said Al Tucker, the visitors bureau vice president
of multicultural business development.
The bureau is marketing Broward as a multicultural tourist destination.
Blacks, Caribbeans and Hispanics are flocking here, skipping over urban hubs
for events from conventions to family reunions.
A second annual Creole Festival Internationale takes place this weekend in
Las Vegas. A nonprofit and the Clark County Parks and Community Services
sponsor the event.
Organizers of the Fort Lauderdale fest hope to expand it next year, building
on what they hope will be a success this year. ''Anything new is a
challenge,'' said Gina Dodard, ACTION's program director. ``We are doing all
we can to make it a success.''