HISTORY of the CELEBRATE NASHVILLE CULTURAL FESTIVAL
In 1995 Scarritt-Bennett Center, a Nashville conference, retreat, and education center recognized a need within the rapidly growing and changing Nashville community. The population was becoming more diversified and people were in need of ways to understand and appreciate each other’s differences. The Celebration of Cultures was established to provide an avenue for different cultures to share their traditions through music, dance, activities, food, and crafts. The event, held each summer on the grounds of Scarritt-Bennett Center initially attracted around 2500 people. Over time the popularity of the event grew and outgrew the facilities of SBC. In 2006, a partnership was formed with Scarritt-Bennett Center and Nashville Metro Parks and the festival expanded and moved to its new location at Centennial Park, becoming an annual October event. The festival continued to grow over the next few years and last year saw more than 40,000 people in attendance. And, after 14 years, Scarritt-Bennett Center passed the torch of leadership exclusively over to Nashville Metro Parks.
The focus and mission of the festival remains the same, encompassing over 50 cultures that live in Nashville through dance, music, visual arts, a children’s area, a Teens United Area, an educational Global Village, and exotic food samplings. The event provides an experiential opportunity for Nashvillians to meet their neighbor and share traditions. It encourages dialogue and promotes the cross-cultural awareness and understanding so necessary in our communities.
With the transition of leadership a new name, Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival, was adopted to reflect the renewed focus of honoring the diversity of cultures that comprise the City of Nashville. In addition, a non-profit was formed, Celebrate Nashville, Inc., with the sole purpose of establishing the festival as a permanent and sustainable community event. Metro Parks remains the Presenting Leadership and continues to provide resources and support for the festival.
The Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival continues in existence to celebrate and embrace cultural diversity through respecting, understanding, and appreciating the cultures of the Greater Nashville population.
The Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival will:
- Always maintain the integrity of the mission and encourage learning about diverse cultures and traditions.
- Include the local region’s artistic and cultural heritage by offering an opportunity to share gifts and talents specific to that heritage.
- Set standards and policies that maintain inclusiveness of all people.
- Focus on the celebration of: arts, music, food, dance, and traditional representations of culture, by including only vendors, community organizations, and other groups that fit within this focus.
- Facilitate a festival that is always free and family oriented.