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YOUniqueness Festival Celebrates Glendale’s Diversity

Takumi Kato and his three sons with co-chair Edith Fuentes. Kato’s family performed the taiko drums.

More than 750 attendees recently gathered at the Glendale YMCA for the second annual Celebrate YOUniqueness Festival 2024, a day filled with diverse history, heritage, and arts and culture.
The event featured food samplings by a variety of groups in Glendale. Armenian, Filipino, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Latino dishes were brought in abundance, ready for guests to enjoy.
Performers graced the stage to share their talent with attendees. Among the entertainment was a presentation made by the Peaceful Forest Japanese Drummers. The group is made up of award-winning Takumi Kato, a Japanese taiko drummer and winner of the Odaiko Grand Prize, and his three sons who are 12, 10 and 7. The drummers that day had reached their 333rd taiko performance and are working toward a total of 1,000 across the United States.
Other colorful performances included the dancers from Ararat Folk Songs and Dance Group, Rose and Alex Pilibos School Choir, Fil-Am MoTHER FY Dance Group, Incarnation School Fil-Am Dance Group, Holy Family Filipino Chorale and Tonantzin Mexico-Azteca Dance Group.
Filipino American Business Association of Glendale’s former President Edith Fuentes and YMCA President/CEO George Saikali co-chaired the event.
“Thank you to everyone who came to support an event whose goal is to bring the community together,” Fuentes said.
Among the dignitaries who came out to join the festival were state Sen. Anthony Portantino, representatives from the offices of Rep. Adam Schiff, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Assembly candidate Jessica Caloza, Glendale Mayor Daniel Brotman, Councilwoman Paula Devine, Councilman Ardy Kassakhian, Councilman Ara Najarian, the Philippine Consulate and the Japanese Consulate.

First published in the March 23 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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