Makamae Melia O Polynesia

The Makamae Melia O Polynesia is performing at the NeighborGood Market on Aug. 19.

Nearly 10 years have passed since the Multicultural Festival debuted in Elk Grove, and paid tribute to the community’s ethnic and racial diversity.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, last year’s festival went online and the city of Elk Grove hosted a series of videos and live broadcasts of local musicians and artists such as David Garibaldi who painted a vivid portrait within a few minutes.

In-person festival events will return to Elk Grove this August when the city and Kaiser Permanente will host the 2021 Diversity Month.

“We know there is a lot of Zoom fatigue out there,” said Jodie Moreno, the city’s community events and special projects coordinator. “We wanted to get away from strictly online content.”

Most of the festivities will be outdoor concerts and dance performances at the NeighborGood Market, which is a farmers’ market gathering that’s held every Thursday outside the city’s District56 center. There will also be booths that will educate attendees about different cultures.

Also on tap for Diversity Month is an art workshop for children, a cooking class on how to prepare Lumpia rolls, and a local art showcase. The recently renovated Old Town Plaza will have its first concert on Aug. 4 when the Maya Band will play Latin grooves.

“The message we want to tell the citizens of Elk Grove is to come and support our diversity, learn about different faiths, cultures, and traditions to foster unity,” said Dr. Bhavin Parikh, the chair of the city’s Diversity and Inclusion Commission.

His group helped organize Diversity Month and he said they received local feedback about the need for live, in-person events.

Moreno noted that attendees at the in-person events are invited to sign the Diversity Pledge at the city’s booth. By signing this pledge, they will promise to respect all cultures and religions.

Elk Grove residents who prefer to stay home out of precaution during the COVID pandemic can still learn more about different cultures in topics such as music, fashion, and cooking at the Diversity Month page on the city’s website. 

On Aug. 19, local nonprofit Elk Grove Artists will host an exhibit of local art at District56 for Diversity Month. They are still accepting applications for submission up to Aug. 8. For more information on applying to the art show, visit the city’s website,

This year's Diversity Month was to end with an interfaith prayer on Aug. 29, but concerns over rising COVID-19 Delta variant cases prompted organizers to postpone the event at a later date.

Dr. R. Ashok Shankar of the Interfaith Council of Elk Grove told the Citizen that the prayer will be held after the county's mask mandate ends. 

"The Interfaith Council will coordinate with the city to plan an interfaith prayer event in the future," he said. 

What’s on tap for Diversity Month

Note: Most of these events will be held at the District56 center, which is located at 8230 Civic Center Drive and is next to the Elk Grove Aquatic Center.

Art Show

Thursday, Aug. 19 – The Elk Grove Fine Artists will present a showcase of work from local artists, 4-8 p.m., District56.

Children’s cultural art workshop

Thursday, Aug. 19 – Children are invited to particiulate in this art workshop that’s hosted by the Young Rembrandts, 4:30-5:45 p.m., District56. Participants are asked to enroll by visiting the Young Rembrandts’ website,

Cooking Class

Friday, Aug. 13

Elk Grove’s Sinful Treats baking company will teach a class on how to cook the Filipino comfort food, Lumpia, 6 p.m., District56. There is a $20 enrollment fee and registration is at Students will be asked to wear masks.

Live music and dance

Wednesday, Aug. 4 – Maya Band – this Latin cover band plays classics by the likes of Santana, Selena, Ritchie Valens as well as classic Latin music styles such as Cumbia, Tex-Mex, Salsa, and Cha Cha, 5:30-7 p.m., Old Town Plaza (9645 Railroad St.).

Thursday, Aug. 5 - Way Out West Band – the California Country band will perform at the NeighborGood Market outside District56, 5:30-7 p.m.

Thursday, Aug, 5 – Gokul Dance Academy – this dance academy will demonstrate classic Indian and Bollywood dances after the Way Out West Band’s set, 7:15-8 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 12 – Inner Soul Band – this nine-member ensemble will play Top 40, funk, R&B, and classic rock hits at the NeighborGood Market, District56, 5:30-7 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 19 – Diesel Sour Band – the longtime jazz band will play grooves at the NeighborGood Market, District56, 5:30-7 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 19 – Makamae Melia O Polynesia Dance Group - the Elk Grove dance group will showcase traditional Polynesian dances at the NeighborGood Market, District56, 7:15-8 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 26 – East Wind Band – this Sacramento band will deliver horn-driven, retro funk at the NeighborGood Market, District56, 5:30-7 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 26 – Hmong Youth Parent United Dance Group – following the East Wind Band concert, the dance group will perform traditional Hmong dances, 7:15-8 p.m.