BY ALYSSA MAHADEO
Have you ever wanted to travel the world? Recently had some serious wanderlust vibes and considered jumping on the next plane out of here? Did you know that it’s possible to experience the world without even leaving the city?
Revered as one of the TOP 100 festivals to attend in Ontario, Carassauga, the festival of cultures is back celebrating thirty two years of multiculturalism and diversity in the GTA.
Carassauga is a three-day cultural event showcasing over seventy countries at different pavilions throughout Mississauga. For years their mission has been to organize a citywide multicultural festival to promote understanding respect and co-operation among all Canadians of different heritages. They are Ontario’s largest and Canada’s second largest multicultural community festival inviting patrons to experience and travel the world without cashing in those air miles.
For over three decades Carassauga has showcased the very best of cultures from around the world with each pavilion offering first hand experiences in exotic flavors, entertainment, music, fashion, art and history.
In 1985 when the festival first began, there were only five pavilions showcased. Fast-forwarding to 2015, The City of Mississauga hosted over 300,000 visitors over the Carassauga weekend. Last year alone they had 4,233 performers, 166 Artisans and countless volunteers that made the festival a huge success and this year they are back with more than seventy countries and twenty eight pavilions proud to celebrate and showcase their heritage through even more exotic foods, captivating performances and vibrant colourful and unique costumes.
Carassauga will take place May 27th – May 29th at various community and cultural centers throughout the city. The opening ceremony scheduled to take place on the Friday night at 7:30pm on the Outdoor stage at the Mississauga SportZone (formerly Hershey SportZone) featuring a Parade of Nations, Special Guest & Musical Performances that will give guests a taste of what the twenty eight pavilions will offer over the course of the weekend. In addition to the returning countries, Carassauga is pleased to welcome Romania joining the festival for their first year alongside the Ukraine and many more countries covering Asia, Africa, The Middle East, North and South America and even the Caribbean Sea!
New this year, kids are invited to visit the Kids Zone where they can go to enjoy fun-filled activities including bouncy castles, arts and crafts, sports demos, games, interactive children’s entertainment and face painting! Kids have the chance to meet Carassauga’s mascots Carra and Missi and take pictures with them for lots of amazing and interactive fun! Admission is free to children twelve and younger when accompanied by an adult Carassauga Passport Holder.
Admission to this year’s festival is $10 for an advance Carassauga passport, or $12 at the door that grants unlimited access to all pavilions all weekend long and free ridership on MiWay buses during festival hours. For those patrons that choose to park at the Hersey Center there will be a shuttle busses for travel between pavilions free for Carassauga Passport holders. Children twelve and under are free. Passports can be purchased at various locations throughout Mississauga, including City Libraries, and online through their website.
Year after year Carassauga wouldn’t be the success it is today with out the backing of their dedicated sponsors and over 6,000 hardworking volunteers. This year’s title sponsorship comes from Paramount Fine Foods, alongside help from The City of Mississauga, The Government of Ontario Canadian Heritage, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Home Trust, Money Gram, BPA, OLG and LiUNA! Local 183.
Closer to festival weekend the Carassauga App designed by harpLabs, will be available for free download, where you can have exclusive access to all the Festival information at your fingertips. For more information visit Carassauga.com for more details.
If you still haven’t checked travelling the world off your bucket list, you can see the entire world right here in your own backyard! Don’t wait, purchase your Carassauga Passport today and experience the cultures of the world celebrating diversity in Canada!