Have you ever considered how it would feel to stand in a small courtyard, surrounded by culture from all over the world? Okay, me neither. But by George, did I find out!
Last Sunday was certainly more eventful than my usual watch-Futurama-in-my-pyjamas ritual. The sun shone down on Aberdare with an intensity I wasn’t sure existed in Wales, and from as early as eleven o’ clock Dare Valley Park was teaming with people eager to see what the world had to offer. Y’know, without having to renew their passports. There is only so much room in Dare Valley Country Park, and I for one was not expecting to run out of time before I got to do everything. These people certainly know how to throw an event.
The newly appointed Mayor Sylvia Jones set off the celebrations with the usual speech and ribbon-cutting, and we were off. The activities and entertainment for the day started there and then with a performance from the ever-talented Colstars Theatre Group. It really wasn’t hard to see why these guys won an award for their production of ‘13’ a while back – they were spot on. Their rendition of Mr Blue Sky was a personal favourite of mine (it being my favourite song of all time) and they didn’t fail to deliver. The group put the crowd into good spirits for the remainder of the day, which was just as much of a treat.
After nabbing a quick interview with both the Youth Mayor and the Mayor (I say quick, we sorta made her late for her next appointment…), we set off in search of culture. I assure you, it was not hard to find.
Throughout the day there was entertainment from all around the world which left you not knowing which way to turn. Being one for the music, I was rather impressed by Samuel’s accordion playing as he and his two percussionists performed songs from his home country, Portugal. He was followed by the glamorous Bhakti Tribal – a Fat Chance Belly Dance studio which teaches American Tribal Style dancing. We later caught up with the girls for a quick interview, which soon revealed that they were just as fun to talk to as they were to watch.
If you happened to be around on Sunday, you may have witnessed our very own editor taking part in a spot of Zumba dancing, which originates from South America. If you have ever met Cat then you know her enthusiasm is hard to curb, but dancing instructor Cheryl certainly managed to give her a run for her money as she danced for an hour in the exhausting heat.
After Cat reluctantly admitted that the dancing had indeed beaten her, the Wicid team browsed the stalls for a slightly more relaxing way to enjoy the surrounding culture. From African jewellery sales on the PONT stall to Henna tattoos and face painting, every stall had its fair share of visitors. The park was filled with the sounds of African drums and excited children who were making their own bracelets. I even managed to pull away from the camera in order to design my own canvas bag at the Oceania stall. The Japanese stall was proving very popular as visitors had their names written in Japanese Calligraphy. With all proceeds going to Tsunami funds, there was no excuse to avoid the beautiful authentic crafts on offer, which had no problem selling like hotcakes.
On the topic of hotcakes, what would a Global Day be without exotic foods? With a variety of British, North American, Asian and Caribbean on offer, there was something for everyone. Although I must admit, I found myself edging closer to the SweetSational stall, where the Merthyr sweet shop had set up stacks of their favourite treats. As tasty as they were, I do not recommend dipping toffee into sherbet. It’s not as nice as it sounds.
So, after an exhausting day of watching people dancing, the five hours in the park flew by and before we knew it the stalls were packing up. Somehow managing to fail the world quiz in order to win free chocolate, the Wicid team bid their farewells to the celebrations of on a global scale, with a promise of returning the following year.