WESTFIELD, NJ — It was not your average afternoon in the typically serene Mindowaskin Park.

A multicultural festival — the first such one to occur in Westfield — drew hundreds of people to the park Saturday. Some attended having heard of the planned festival, but for resident Beverly Goldchmidt, who with her husband, Ed, was taking their dog for a walk, the festivities came as a pleasant surprise.

“It was beautiful: all the children, the colors and the different cultures,” said Goldchmidt, who said she witnessed the scene with her pooch, Charlie. “We didn’t realize it was going on.”

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Organized by the town with the support of the Union County Freeholders and Coldwell Banker, Councilwoman Dawn Mackey said the municipality had invited wide participation.

“Nobody was turned away,” Mackey said. “If you had something to bring to the table, whether it be a table with food or a dance or musical number or origami. We cast a wide net to get participants.”

The Westfield Area Chinese American Association, and the Westfield UNICO were among the many groups represented. Performers from The Valencia School of Music and the Westfield Ballroom impressed the audiences, organizers said.

Performers based in neighboring municipalities also took part, including those from Sharon Fit Belly Dance & Group Fitness Studio, of Cranford, and the Shea-Jennings School of Irish Dance, of Garwood, organizers said.

Dozens of people volunteered and donated goods to make the event possible, Mackey said.

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Outta Hand Pizza arrived with cornbread that had been stuffed with spinach, she said, and Vine Ripe Markets delighted with a classic dessert. “Vine ripe was there with piles of cannolis,” Mackey said. “That was amazing.”

Mayor Shelley Brindle was photographed performing a Bollywood style dance, and Union County Freeholder Kim Mouded, who lives in Westfield, also attended.

“Union County is such a diverse community and the Freeholder Board was so proud to support the tremendous diversity that resides right here in Westfield,” Mouded said. “It was an honor to be a part of today’s festivities and have the opportunity to experience what makes so many of our resident’s cultures unique.”

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh

Video Courtesy of Ed Lara via Facebook