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Community in the plaza: Indigenous Peoples' Day leads LVA cultural celebrations

Festivities aim to uplift diversity and awareness locally
A dancer in traditional regalia performers for the 2022 LVA Native American celebration. (Photo by Robert Suguitan/Livermore Valley Arts)

This fall, the Tri-Valley community will be able to join together at the Bankhead Theater Plaza for a series of special events honoring cultural groups. Livermore Valley Arts has planned the free festivities in an effort to uplift diversity and awareness locally.

From Indigenous Peoples' Day to Diwali to Pride -- and more -- the celebrations will take place between this weekend to Nov. 5.

Diwali Festival of Lights is one of LVA's most popular events held throughout the year. The 2023 event will take place Nov. 5. (Photo by Robert Suguitan/Livermore Valley Arts)

"These free community and cultural events are part of LVA's core value and belief that everyone in the Tri-Valley should have the opportunity to experience the arts at whatever age and whatever level they are," LVA representatives said in a statement.

On Saturday (Sept. 23), LVA will host an Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration, an appreciation of stories, songs and dances from the long history of Native Americans that have been preserved through centuries.

"LVA acknowledges that we are on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ohlone," LVA reps said. "(We) affirm the sovereign rights of their community as First Peoples and are committed to supporting the traditional and contemporary evolution of the American Indian community and uplifting contemporary indigenous voices and culture."

Featuring an altar dedication, land acknowledgments, traditional dances and a community drum circle, the celebration will have activities for all ages from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Oct. 7, the plaza will host the 11th annual Taste of Africa Festival, in partnership with the Cheza Nami Foundation. Founded in 2011, the Pleasanton-based nonprofit aims to promote cultural diversity and awareness in the Tri-Valley.

Local artists will show off dance, music, art and food from African cultures -- plus an African marketplace will offer handmade crafts and trinkets from regional vendors.

Dancers of the 2022 Taste of Africa festival perform onstage for the Bankhead Plaza audience, organized by Livermore Valley Arts. (Photo by Robert Suguitan/Livermore Valley Arts)

The Filipino Barrio Fiesta on Oct. 8 celebrates Filipinx American customs through art, food, music and dance. The one-day event is timed to coincide with Filipinx History Month that runs throughout October.

The acknowledgment was instituted in 2009 when a national law was passed declaring October as National Filipino American History Month.

New for LVA this year is the Pride Fest Livermore happening Oct. 21.

"Livermore Pride is the sponsor for this event; they are an amazing homegrown hometown group of local residents dedicated to building LGBTQ+ community, equity and inclusion in Livermore and the Tri-Valley," LVA officials said. "We strive to have all LGBTQ+ people feel seen and heard as valued members of our community. Love is love in Livermore."

LVA will close out the fall cultural celebrations with the Diwali Festival of Lights taking place Nov. 5.

Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival marking the start of the Hindu New Year; it is celebrated near autumn in South Asian countries such as India or Nepal. It typically marks the last harvest of the year before the start of the winter season.

"Spiritually wise, (Diwali) signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair," according to LVA.

LVA invites the public to take part in the downtown Livermore celebrations, sponsored by Las Positas College.

"The public is invited to share in these free events and activities, all are welcome, to not only celebrate these beautiful and varied cultures from around the globe and from our own community but also to learn and grow from our shared history as Americans and, more greatly, as human beings," they added.

To find out more about the LVA cultural celebrations series, visit

Performers of the 2022 LVA Filipino Barrio Fiesta prepare to go onstage. (Photo by Robert Suguitan/Livermore Valley Arts)



About the Author: Nicole Gonzales

Nicole Gonzales is a staff reporter for Embarcadero Media’s East Bay Division, the Pleasanton Weekly. Nicole began writing for the publication in July 2022.
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