Participants were greeted with energy and enthusiasm when they arrived at the Steward School on Saturday, September 22 for ReEstablish Richmond’s 2018 Welcome Fest. Featuring storytelling, dance, music, handicraft, cooking demonstrations, and language lessons, the fundraiser sought to highlight the cultures of the refugee and international communities in greater Richmond. A celebration of culture was indeed apparent as guests strolled down the front walkway to the beat of traditional drummers and into Welcome Fest.
Inside the lobby, vendors shared their crafts and wares for guests to explore. Hennafy painted intricate henna tattoos that (literally) sparkled, Mbarka’s Moroccan Cookies offered boxes of tasty treats, and Handmade by Kim offered unique, handcrafted jewelry designs. A Bhutanese dance demonstration at 2:30 p.m. opened a schedule of events that immersed visitors and volunteers alike in new experiences. Multiple outdoor yoga sessions invited deep breaths and loosened limbs. Individuals from the refugee community shared their stories with quiet audiences in the storytelling nook. Meanwhile, Mary’s Empanadas was a big hit on the terrace, serving up authentic Chilean artisan empanadas to hungry guests.
Despite an overcast sky, it certainly did not rain on ReEstablish Richmond’s 2018 Welcome Fest. Through vendors, donations, the raffle, and the silent auction, ReEstablish Richmond raised nearly $6,000 and exceeded the board’s fundraising goal for the event. All of the proceeds support ReEstablish Richmond’s work serving the greater Richmond refugee community by building self-sufficiency. Thank you to all vendors, volunteers, and participants!