by Festival Correspondent, Judi "Scoop" McWilliams

Part of the fun of going to a festival and event, is the adventure along the way! This adventure started out with a visit to our family in Mississauga, my hometown roots. Back then Mississauga was just called “Port Credit”. Approaching, from the 410 highway, we passed tall shinning apartment towers that looks like “Cocoa Cola” bottles. “Square One” Shopping Centre, now the hub of Mississauga, was once where I travelled to an empty field to hit golf balls. Down Mavis road towards our destination is where many memories of swimming at the Huron Park Recreation Centre (still there). Moving on, our BBQ lunch on this sunny Saturday morning led into the beginning of the early afternoon and we were anxious to start our adventure at “Carassauga”! This was the 27th year for this fantastic Multicultural Festival. To no surprise, the parking lot was jammed but we managed to squeeze our way in. As we entered the main building, the excitement hit us immediately. The colours, sounds, smell of foods from around the world his us. Demonstrations were going on in many locations at the same time.

Carassauga offer families a chance to travel the world using Festival “Passports”. As you visit each Pavilion or Country, your Passport gets stamped. You can travel to Africa, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, to the Philippines Slovakia, the Ukraine and all the country in between.

Once we got the “lay of the land”, we took our own Festival Nomad tip and ventured out to the furthest Pavilions housed in outdoor tents. We were trying to beat the traffic of fellow eager festival goers.

One of my favorite Pavilions was the Philippines. It offered a rich culture and diversity that we had never had the opportunity to experience before. The African Pavilion was alive with music and dance! At many Pavilions you could learn the artistic crafts of many countries with "hands on experience".

The Kids Zone offered fun-filled activities including sports demonstrations, interactive children’s entertainment and face painting at the Kids Zone located at the Hershey Sports Centre – Soccer Field, on the lower level. For children visiting Carassauga, a trip to the Kids Zone is a must see. It is the perfect place for younger Festival visitors because it was created just for kids 12 years and younger. There are lots of games, energizing activities and children’s entertainment all in a family friendly atmosphere. Entrance included with the price of an Adult Festival Passport admission. The Kids could even meet Carassauga’s Mascot Carra!

Carassauga is an experience that is best described by “awesome”! The best way to capture this experience, though, is to take the time to visit personally. From the cuisine to costumes, to the art and demonstrations, to the music and folklore dancing, to the theatrical sketches and intricate creations made around the world, it all is amazing.

Our advice to you for your Carassauga adventure … arrive early, pace yourself, be patient as many people attend … but, the adventure of exploring so many multicultural experiences from around the world is worth the travel to Mississauga for Carassauga!