UPDATE: This festival has been postponed to spring 2019 because of risks associated with Hurricane Florence.
MOORESVILLE – For Alli Goode, the best part of organizing an event is watching people enjoy it.
“It’s the memories that are made that make me most excited,” Goode said.
And the town’s upcoming One Moore Fest, a new event that will focus on multicultural identities and traditions, will give attendees lots of opportunities to make memories.
Goode, who is the special events and marketing coordinator for Mooresville’s parks and recreation department, said the festival will feature numerous opportunities for attendees to eat, experience and learn about different cultures.
“I want people to know it’s going to be exciting,” Goode said. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be different than maybe some of the other things they’ve attended.”
A portion of Broad Street, between Moore and West Iredell Avenues, will be closed off to traffic and split up into four regions – Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
“So the regions will be represented together,” Goode said. “So if it’s food from China, then it will be in the Asia region.”
There would also be areas between each region that will act as “transition pieces.”
“From Africa to Latin America, you might get a Jamaican food truck,” Goode said. “And then from Asia to Europe, there are some games, like Chinese checkers, for example. People think that they’re Chinese, but they actually were made in Germany.”
Each of the four main regions has a team comprised of a town staff member and community volunteers who have worked together to decide what the region should look like.
“Obviously these continents and regions are gigantic, so we’re not going to hit everything,” Goode said. “But there is a good, diverse group for each region. So we’re able to pull some ideas.”
Each team has at least one member who is representative of a nationality in the region the group is trying to portray.
Nanette Grueninger is a member of the Latin America team, and she said she’s been working hard – along with other members of her team and teenagers from her neighborhood – to construct props for her region, including three-dimensional rainforest plants and Carnaval outfits.
“In Panama, we do these things regularly,” Grueninger said over Facebook messenger. “The Carnaval is a big deal for us, just as in Brazil and the Canary Islands.”
Grueninger has always loved art, and she has spent hours over the last few months constructing horses, outfits and landscapes using paper-mache, wood and – in the case of the Carnaval outfits – real ostrich feathers.
Grueninger said she is excited to share her Panamanian culture with Mooresville during the festival.
“You don’t even know how happy I am to have had the opportunity to teach and show part of my Panamanian culture and, at the same time, do something to give back to our community,” Grueninger said.
With just over a week until the event, Goode said she’s excited to see how the festival will turn out.
“It’s the first time for the event, so we just want to show what we can do in Mooresville,” Goode said.
The event will feature entertainment from a variety of groups, including The High Kings, an Irish Celtic group that has had an album on Billboard’s Top World Albums chart.
“Generally speaking, when you go see the High Kings, you have to buy a ticket to see the High Kings,” Goode said. “And so this is one of those where you don’t have to do that.”
There will also be other entertainment throughout the evening, including dance by SHAE Movement, a Charlotte-based African dance troupe, as well as a presentation by Lake Norman Muay Thai about the history and legends of muay thai.
The festival is free and open to the public.
There will be food trucks and vendors representing various regions and cuisines. Ghostface Brewing will also be serving German-, Scottish-, Irish- and Mexican-style beers.
“All sorts of really exciting things will be happening,” Goode said. “So many different pieces.”