The Silverthorne Pavilion transformed itself into a center of diversity Thursday night during its annual Celebrations Around the World event. Voices speaking in a variety of different languages echoed throughout the main hall, which remained full with a constant crowd throughout the entire two hours.
The purpose of the event was to foster tolerance and educate community members and children about the diversity of culture to be found in Silverthorne and throughout Summit County. Six stations set up around the main hall represented six different cultures for attendees to learn about - Costa Rica, Poland, Peru, Paraguay, Mexico and China.
Each station featured artifacts from its country, including books, currency, pottery, clothing, games and more. Food from each culture offered an adventure in global tastes and delicacies.
The Costa Rica exhibit was one of the most elaborate, featuring more than 40 plants that transformed a corner into a jungle, complete with colorful birds and moist, misty air. The Pacheco family has had five years to improve upon their station.
"We heard about [the event] and we thought it was the perfect way to inform people about us," said Luisana Pacheco, who prepares the exhibit with her parents and brother.
Earlier in the day, fourth-graders from all six county elementary schools came to get a preview of the event booths.
"The whole day was fun," said Nancy French, who helped to run the Poland station. "The kids were wonderful. They asked excellent questions."
"This year had a higher attendance than last year," stated Silverthorne Pavilion events assistant Rob DeVerna in an email, who estimated that around 300 people visited the event. "The general notion from all the teachers, students and community was that it was enjoyed more as well."
Sandy Greenhut, who has been involved with the event in the past, agreed. "It's really neat to see it revitalized this year."
In addition to the stations, several groups prepared live entertainment for the stage. One group from Denver performed Brazilian capoeira to live music, encouraging the crowd to clap along. Also featured were musical instrument demonstrations and dances from Peru and Mexico showcasing elaborate traditional outfits.
"Where should we go next?" one woman was heard asking over the crowd.
"Let's travel to China!" came the enthusiastic reply.
With the colorful set-up, talkative station masters and celebratory atmosphere, it really did feel like taking a trip around the world.