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The Reykjavík Family Park & Zoo transforms into the Cultural Garden this coming Saturday. There we will be celebrating the diversity of human life with a varied program and activities. Many people contribute to the festival, which is organized by the so-called Ambassadors in Breiðholt.
The Ambassadors have their roots in Breiðholt but now extend their reach throughout the city. This grassroots project aims to connect various language and cultural groups with the community. When it began just over two years ago, there were seven ambassadors from as many language and cultural groups. Today, there are 21 individuals from 14 language and cultural groups. They play a crucial role in conveying information about the City of Reykjavík's services and more to their respective community groups.
Among the many involved in planning the festival are Iryna Hordiienko, Tetiana Korolenko, and Maria Sastre. Tetiana works at the Reykjavík City International Team, while both Tetiana and Maria serve as ambassadors, Tetiana for the Ukrainian community and Maria for the Spanish-speaking community.
Preparations for the festival began last fall. "We started discussing the possibility of creating a festival where people from different cultural backgrounds could come together, showcase their culture, and share their stories," explains Tetiana. Iryna adds, "We want to introduce our culture and traditions — to show our true selves. We aim to build a sort of communication bridge between different groups in the community. It's essential for people to feel connected to the community if they want to feel at home in this country. It's challenging to be part of a community without communication. We want to establish friendship and trust among the people in the community."
They hope many will attend on Saturday, promising entertainment for everyone, children and adults alike. There will be a stage program with various performances, varied food and drink tastings, handicraft exhibitions, workshops for children, and much more. "We have introduced this event well in our cultural groups and expect many people," says Maria. "But this is not just an event for people of foreign origin living in Iceland. This is also for guests of Icelandic descent. We also hope to reach cultural groups not yet part of the Ambassador project. We wish as many people as possible to attend and enjoy themselves."
They hope for good weather, so guests can fully enjoy everything the Reykjavík Family Park & Zoo has to offer. If it rains, no harm is done, as the stage will be covered, and the program will take place indoors, in the dining hall.
Iryna, Maria, and Tetiana hope the festival will become an annual event. Admission to the park is free on Saturday, and all food offered to guests will be complimentary. The park opens at 10 am, while the organized program takes place between 12 noon and 4 pm. The Reykjavík Family Park & Zoo is the main sponsor of the project. Center South is the Ambassadors' sponsor, and the Reykjavík City Intercultural Council is also a sponsor.