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May 13, 2009 > Cultural fair celebrates unity

Cultural fair celebrates unity

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of Amy Dawson

Promoting the oneness of humanity, people wearing colorful national costumes, displaying a spectrum of arts and crafts representing the countries they hail from and food from all over the world will be present on the grounds of Curtner Elementary School this Saturday.

The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of the school is hosting the 11th bi-annual International Fair on Saturday, May 16. "The event is open to the public," said Shakila Cochinwala, Fair Coordinator.

The Curtner PTA serves the school by hosting special events for students and their families and fundraising. Special events include movie nights, socials and the bi-annual International Fair.

"Families from Curtner school will fill the multi-purpose room with booths and tables that contain representative items from their country. Many participants will attend wearing their native dress. Food samples will be available, including Chinese dumplings and Indian curry," said PTA President Julie McMullen.

"Some of the countries that will have displays include Pakistan, India, Seychelles, Israel, Mexico, Japan, Peru, Venezuela, Iran, USA, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Samoa," said Cochinwala. "All children will receive a mini passport that can be stamped at each booth."

Entertainment will also be provided. There will be martial art demonstrations, Chinese singing, Indian dancing, plus much more. "We will also have a K-9 unit from the Milpitas Police Department providing demonstrations, as well as the Fire Department's 'Safe House,'" said Cochinwala. The Safe House shows children how to be safe during a fire or other emergency.

This is a celebration and an educational event where families have the opportunity to learn and share about the diverse cultures at the school. In addition to attending the event, you can also participate by collaborating on a table representing your own culture or country of ancestry. "The International Fair is an all-volunteer event. This year, sixth-grade parent Shakila Cochinwala is coordinating the Fair," said McMullen.

"More than 200 people attended our last International Fair and it was a great success," she said. "Kids enjoyed having their passports stamped, adults loved tasting the different foods, and everyone learned about other cultures." The Curtner PTA is looking for families from additional countries to come and host a booth. If you are interested in preparing a display about your country, please contact Shakila Cochinwala at (408) 421-0694 or

"It is a very popular event and is attended by our Curtner families, their friends all dressed up in their cultural clothes. This is a free event and is open to all, the main idea behind this is to promote diversity, and understand each other," said McMullen.

International Fair
Saturday, May 16
1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Curtner Multi-Purpose Room,
275 Redwood Ave., Milpitas
(408) 421-0694

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