MCF story

Local teen multi-instrumentalist will perform during Elk Grove's Diversity Awareness Month. 

Viewers from around the world can learn about Elk Grove’s culturally diverse community next month when the city of Elk Grove will host a slew of online events as part of Cultural Diversity Awareness Month. The festivities will last from Aug. 1-30.

Events include cooking demonstrations, dance lessons, fashion shows, musical performances, and a live session that will have local, world-renowned painter David Garibaldi quickly paint images. There will be a video of late Sacramento restaurant icon Biba Caggiano cooking gnocchi.

“We know that Elk Grove is a microcosm of world cultures and this gives us an opportunity to showcase and celebrate our commonly shared cultural elements,” said Dr. Ashok Shankar, a co-organizer and the chair of the city’s Diversity and Inclusion Commission.

Organizers decided to have a “virtual” showcase this year after canceling the annual Elk Grove Multicultural Festival that was to be held at the District56 center on Aug. 22. The city also canceled its Independence Day celebration, the Salute to the Red, White, and Blue Festival, due to state and county restrictions against large public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shankar said that the online-only celebration can have advantages over having an in-person event.

“One of the nice things about online events is that we can have a greater number of events and presumably a larger number of participants who are able to enjoy these events,” he said.

Shankar explained that the online events for this year’s Diversity Awareness Month will be organized into categories such as Dance, Cooking, Folk Art, Music, and Fashion. He said that concept is to show how diverse cultures have much in common.

“The goal is to ultimately (show) there are more traditions that bind us as a community than things that separate us,” Shankar said.

He noted there will be messages from people of different faiths such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Baha’i Faith.

“We focused on the faith traditions and the message that we are really part of the same universal human community,” Shankar said.

He mentioned there will be “cultural tutorials” or video demonstrations of cultural customs such as how to tie a turban, drape a sari, or say greetings in different languages. Other events include demonstrations of dance traditions from India, the Philippines, and Latin America. There will also be performances of traditional instruments like the Hmong instrument, the Qeej and a showcase by local, teenage multi-instrumentalist Neil Nayyar.

Readers can view the events by visiting the city of Elk Grove’s website,

Online events on tap for Elk Grove’s Diversity Awareness Month

Here are the online events currently scheduled for the city’s Diversity Awareness Month. Readers can visit the city’s website, for more events when they are listed.

-Aug. 4, Music by multi-instrumentalist Neil Nayyar

-Aug. 6, Hmong Youth-Parent United Fashion Show

-Aug. 8, Chinese Martial Arts Class (live at 10 a.m.)

-Aug. 9, Breath and Meditation session (live at 10 a.m.)

-Aug. 11, Mastering Our Feelings and Emotions (live at 6 p.m.)

-Aug. 13, Diversity Day Giveaway (live at Elk Grove City Hall, 5-7 p.m.)

-Aug. 18, A Performance of a Qeej (Hmong instrument)

-Aug. 20, African Paper Plate Necklaces and Afrobeat Dance Lessons

-Aug. 22, Turban Tying (live at 11 a.m.)

-Aug. 23, Tahitian Hula Dancing Class (live at 6 p.m.)

-Aug. 25, A Virtual Art Tour at the Todo un Poco Bistro

-Aug. 27, Dr. Satsuki Ina’s Discussion, “Pandemic: Virus & Racism” (live at 6:30 p.m.)

-Aug. 29, Presentation on The Baha’i Faith (live at 3 p.m.)

-Aug. 30: Painter David Garibaldi (live at 7 p.m.)