Michigan Culture and Diversity Festival aims to unite, educate with 4-day celebration

Erica Hobbs
Special to The Detroit News

The Michigan Culture and Diversity Festival returns to Dearborn Heights this weekend for a four-day celebration of cultures throughout the world.

The free event is part cultural celebration, part food festival and part carnival, with a goal of bringing diverse communities together for a weekend of fun, unity and education.

The festival is put on by HYPE Athletics, a nonprofit organization that promotes positive development and unification of children through sports and educational programming.

“Celebrating diversity is important, especially in today’s day and age when there are so many different variables going on,” said Ali Faraj, HYPE Athletics’ chief administrative officer. “We need to learn to come together to understand each other.”

The Michigan Culture and Diversity Festival  aims to bring diverse communities together.

Every evening from 6-10 p.m., the festival will feature musicians, dancers and other performers from nations around the world. This includes musicians from countries and regions like Italy, Germany, China, Korea and the Middle East, as well as Indian Bollywood, hula and Japanese dragon dancing, and more. 

“We’re so used to judging different countries based on our own cultures, traditions and lifestyles,” Faraj said. “This is our opportunity as a community-based organization to lead our community to welcome and learn what the rest of the world has to offer.”

Even though the festival is in Dearborn Heights – a region with one of the highest populations of Middle Easterners outside of the Middle East – Faraj said it’s not a Middle Eastern-focused festival. 

“We know what we’re about,” he said. “We want to learn about other countries and neighboring communities.”

A children’s-focused area will feature a carnival with rides, as well as “Bounce City,” a no-ride section of around 10 bounce houses and activities, such as face painting, for kids who are not big enough for the rides or may have sensory limitations. 

The Michigan Culture and Diversity Festival returns to Dearborn Heights, Mich. this weekend for a four-day celebration of cultures throughout the world.

Visitors can also enjoy a range of food vendors representing cuisine from around the world, that Faraj described as a food festival inside the festival. 

The event premiered in 2019 but was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Faraj said COVID precautions are being taken seriously to hold the festival this year. Rides will be sanitized after every use, and hand sanitizing and washing stations, as well as free masks, will be available throughout the festival. 

“It’s been a rough year and a half. We said ‘let’s do this with as much safety precautions as we can as a lot of people are looking for some positive events to enjoy during these times,’” he said.

HYPE Athletics marks its 20th anniversary this year, and Faraj said the event is a great way for them to celebrate.

“We were founded on diversity,” he said. “Let’s celebrate with unity through different neighborhoods and communities coming together.”

Michigan Cultural and Diversity Festival

HYPE Athletics Center

23302 W. Warren Ave., Dearborn Heights

3-10 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday

Free to enter

Visit www.midiversifest.org