It was in the early days of the year 2008 when the concept of holding AbbyFest started to take shape. The objective simply was…
To operate events, activities, and programs that educate and expand participants’ and the public’s cultural horizons about multiculturalism, ethnicity, language, race, and gender, specifically but not limited to an annual multicultural festival;
- To operate events and activities that increase public awareness of cultural diversity n the Fraser Valley;
- To operate events, activities, and programs that educate participants and the public about the natural environment, and;
- To operate events, activities, and programs that enhances strong bonds, mutual trust, respect among participants and the public by encouraging racial, interfaith and ethnic harmony and cross‐cultural understanding.
After holding many successful festivals, now the planning to conduct the next AbbyFest is in full swing.
The Prime Minster of Canada has recognized AbbyFest for its contribution to the community. “This exciting festival takes visitors on an unforgettable journey through the rich heritage and cultural traditions of Abbotsford’s diverse community”.
The Premier of British Columbia stated that, “The Festival organizers have accomplished a great deal in terms of community work and reaching out to others. You are to be commended for providing this opportunity for a variety of cultures to be showcased, and enjoyed and appreciated by all those attending.”
AbbyFest – the Abbotsford Multicultural Festival is made‐up of the recognized members of the community. Its president Mr. Moe Gill has been a long-time member of Abbotsford City Council. The AbbyFest founder‐organizer Musleh Hakki along with other prominent community leaders and plethora of volunteers work tirelessly and persistently to conduct this festival year after year which started in 2008.
The AbbyFest organizers are committed to serve, represent and bring together all the citizens of the Fraser Valley. Because we value our community, we gather once a year in this community where we can have an open dialogue to discuss our differences and share our pride and culture.
AbbyFest the Abbotsford Multicultural Festival:
- To create awareness and understanding of racism and discrimination and take action to foster equal opportunities for all people;
- To reduce or eliminate factors contributing to exclusion, disenchantment, and radicalization;
- To encourages activities aimed at reaching society at large to facilitate inter‐cultural understanding and address the cultural and social exclusion of some communities;
- To foster interaction between different communities and support cross‐sector collaboration in community‐based projects to shape an inclusive and respectful society;
- To support community‐based initiatives designed to facilitate inter‐faith dialogue and increase understanding of the place of religion in Canada in order to combat ignorance and faulty assumptions and foster constructive and informed dialogues about multiculturalism, religions, racism, cultural diversity, and Canadian values.
We are here for the community. We grow values, so our community becomes rich. Children and adults breathe and live with multiculturalism throughout the entire Valley. We celebrate love, passion and heritage with all the populace.
Representing various cultures at the festival makes the community aware of the existence of others, and their differences and commonalities. Different cultures have different ways of communicating and by interacting with those cultures at the festival, people will have a different way of looking at others. It will increase the sense of respect of others, and realize that difference is not wrong it is just different. People start to understand and learn from each other.
AbbyFest ‐ This multicultural festival helps build bridges and brings communities together.
The first multicultural festivals have visibly increased the awareness of the community toward multiculturalism, and the existence of others thus creating cohesion and better understanding. According to the city of Abbotsford website, the population of Abbotsford was over 121,000 in 2005, which means an average of 4% of the population comes to the multicultural festivals therefore, 4% have increased their awareness of multiculturalism and would have exposure to our sponsors.
Many studies show that education & understanding reduces future crime; therefore, the multicultural festival makes this happen by creating opportunities for the interaction between people open and friendly. Children and youth see it as a great opportunity to interact with others, and their understanding and respect for our differences grows for the better.
The Multicultural Festival justly deserves its reputation for its outstanding representation of the community but we didn’t achieve this success alone. The foresight and generosity of many benefactors such as you have contributed to the Festival’s reputation for quality and innovation.
From the very beginning, AbbyFest ‐ the Multicultural Festival has received strong community support. Each year, AbbyFest receives generous donations and funding (in the form of cash and inkind) from many well‐known organizations, groups, foundations, and government. These contributions show the confidence the community has in our ability to deliver.
This year, the festival will contribute more to the community because we estimate that this year number of our visitors will go beyond 6000 people; almost twice as many as attended the first multiculturalism festival just a few years ago.