Munroe Street was closed to vehicular traffic on Saturday August 21 so that CultureFest II: A World without Borders could present a buffet of music, dance, art, food, community service and social awareness to retail-starved yet re-emerging Downtown Lynn. CultureFest is the brainchild of Juan Gonzalez, owner and chef of Fernando’s on 23 Munroe Street. For all the photos, see my Facebook page.
First, the music: DJ Seth was on hand to provide the crowd with his special blend of tunes, everything from 80’s dance to Beatles and then some. The talented Alexis, who goes by the name El Hombre Show, sang Latin American favorites in Spanish. The colorful, vibrant Veronica Robles ignited passion (and made my heart swoon) with her singing while her Mariachi band of trumpet and 3 guitars propelled her forward with driving rhythms and sweet melodies.
Dance: Lindsey Hollet, “Siren of the Circle,” mesmerized by keeping up to 2 hoops in a perpetual poetry of motion around her limber frame, at one point miraculously using only one shoulder to hula. Mestre Chuvisco‘s Associacao de Capoeira Mandingueiros Dos Palmares, a group of about 2 dozen dancers of all nationalities, captivated with the Brazilian art of Capoeira, a combination of martial art, dance, music, singing and chanting. (Classes in Capoeira will be coming to Lynn Arts this fall.)
Art: Stake of Stake Airbrushing in Lynn transformed the faces of children into superheros, princesses and animals. Clowns sculpted with balloons and entertained.
Community Service: Don Harrison represented the Time Exchange of the North Shore (TENS). Formerly the Lynn Time Bank, TENS exists to build community through neighbors helping neighbors, exchanging skills and talents. You donate an hour of your time and skills to a member to obtain a “time dollar,” and in turn you are able to use it to “buy” an hour of someone else’s time and skills. The Lynn Lion’s Club promoted their Rock & Roll fundraising concert to benefit Eye Research and local charities.
Social Awareness: TV host and Mariachi singer Veronica Robles not only wowed the crowd with her singing, but presented Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger with the Amisrael Gold Pin Agent of Peace. Amisrael was a major sponsor of the event, along with the city, Lynn Happens, Downtown Lynn, the Little Gallery under the Stairs, Fernando’s and Tacos Lupita.
With Robles translating into Spanish, Coppinger accepted the award, promising “the police are sworn to protect and serve all who live, pass through, work, go to school and otherwise come to the city of Lynn regardless of immigration status. If you break the law, we will do everything in our power to find and deport you. But immigration status is secondary to your safety if you’re working to feed your family and obeying the law” Lynn has always been a melting pot, Coppinger said, and this can be threatening to some people “who do not know how to accept change.”
- Capoeir-Wha? (chicagonow.com)