The annual Reston Multicultural Festival returns this month

Held at Lake Anne Plaza, this year’s event will bring West African dance, history from Ireland, bites from Southern Spain and more to the Reston community.

KanKouran dance group performing
Dancers from the KanKouran West African Dance Company were a highlight of last year’s Reston Multicultural Festival, which returns to Lake Anne Plaza this month. (Photo by Charlotte Geary for Reston Community Center)

For nearly two decades, the residents of Reston have been celebrating their town’s diversity with the Reston Multicultural Festival. The popular event, held at Lake Anne Plaza, features a lineup of live music and dance, arts and crafts vendors, food and drink options and community organizations—all representing the Fairfax city’s global diversity.

Last year, local photographer Charlotte Geary snapped the KanKouran West African Dance Company in action. The engaging moment, she says, conveys the vibrant atmosphere of the day.

“I was just really drawn to their energy,” says Geary. “You can see it in their faces and in how high they were leaping and kicking. It was an incredible performance, so upbeat. It makes you want to dance, too.”

This year’s lineup includes local performers like the Nomad Dancers, who specialize in dances from the Middle East, Central and South Asia; Furia Flamenca, representing the dances of Southern Spain; and the Foley Academy of Irish Dance with Síneadh Fada; among many others. The festival attracts several thousand people for a day of dancing, feasting and learning. But, it’s perhaps the very first event of the annual fest that truly captures the spirit of the day.

Each year, the Reston Multicultural Festival opens at 11 a.m. with a naturalization ceremony, in partnership with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. “The day starts with people’s dreams coming true,” says Geary. “There’s a white dove launch and then we all cheer for the new Americans … it’s just this really happy, inclusive event.” // Reston Community Center: Saturday, Sept. 28, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free  

This post originally appeared in our September 2019 print issue. Like what you read? Subscribe to our e-newsletters for content sent directly to your inbox. 

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