While the heart of this town beats to the sounds of Scottish pipes and drums, its lifeblood clearly flows in the vein of multiculturalism. • In 2003, the city's Inclusion Task Force recommended the city sponsor an annual diversity event, and the city has responded each year since with an assortment of entertaining and educational offerings.
"Even though we're a small city, we are quite diverse," said Gregg Svendgard, the city's athletic director and liaison to the diversity committee steering the event. "And when we started putting on all these cultural and ethnic events, we began to realize just how diverse our population really is."
Svendgard pointed out that Diversity Week is just the start to a calendar full of cultural amusements ranging from Mardi Gras and the Highland Games to Cinco de Mayo and Octoberfest.
The event begins Saturday with a Unity Breakfast followed by a march to Pioneer Park, where a variety of choirs, singers and dancers will perform.
It continues on to next week with several multicultural programs at the Dunedin Public Library, as well as a "play day" at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center.
A Chinese new year celebration and Salsa fiesta next weekend complete the affair.
For additional information, call (727) 812-4530 or (727) 812-4536.
Unity Breakfast, diversity march and entertainment
The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Unity Breakfast is planned for 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 550 Laura Lane. It's free and includes sausage, bacon, eggs and pancakes. The City Pipe Band will play Amazing Grace and five student essay winners will read their interpretation of King's dream. A display of Florida Highwaymen paintings from a private collection will be on display as well.
Afterward, participants can march from the recreation center to Pioneer Park for a series of performances by community groups, scheduled to take the stage from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Enjoy the many talents of church choirs, the Showcase Arts Foundation Players and the Dunedin High School Omni Steppers, a.k.a. "The Pretty Ladies of Pink."
Tuesday through Jan. 21
Travel the world at the Dunedin Public Library
The library's youth services department presents a range of programs for preschoolers to teens thanks to sponsorships by the Friends of the Dunedin Library. Make sure to preregister for all of these programs — they fill up fast. The library is located at 223 Douglas Ave. Call (727) 298-3080, ext. 240 to RSVP:
Tuesday, 6 p.m. "Make your own Piñatas" for ages 10 to 18
Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., multicultural program for ages 5 to 12
Thursday, 4:30 p.m., ages 5 to 12 will focus on American Indians
Friday (Jan. 21), 10:30 a.m., folktales from around the world for preschoolers
Chinese New Year celebration
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, so hop on over to Pioneer Park and enjoy traditional Chinese folk dances, songs and a parade of costumes from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The evening concludes with the dance of a giant dragon snaking through the park.
Play Day at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center
Children in kindergarten through fifth grade can have a free "play day" at the center, 550 Laura Lane. From 9 a.m. until noon they will partake in special field activities and arts and crafts.
Salsa Under the Stars
In this new addition to Diversity Week, salsa band Sol Caribe heats up the night from 7 to 9 p.m. in Pioneer Park in downtown Dunedin. Tastes of Latin flavors will be available for purchase from Casa Tina's.