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Hampton Mosaic Festival expands in its second year

Hampton's Mosaic Festival combines several other festivals into one featuring cultural, historical and musical displays. (Photo courtesy of the City of Hampton)
Hampton's Mosaic Festival combines several other festivals into one featuring cultural, historical and musical displays. (Photo courtesy of the City of Hampton)


The Hampton Mosaic Festival returns to Downtown Hampton this weekend after a successful initial run last year. 

This time around, it promises to be more expansive with an abundance of more food, fun and frivolity. 

Like mosaic art that fits together pieces of  material to make a larger piece of art, the Mosaic Festival celebrates world cultures and the earth through history, art, music and dance. It combines popular festivals from the past, including the Hampton Heritage Day Festival, the Children’s International Festival and the Earth Day Festival.

Mahogany Waldon with the Hampton Convention and Visitor’s Bureau calls the festival a “celebration of unity.”

“It aims to create a sense of belonging for everyone, regardless of age or background,” she said.

In honor of the colorful culture and various backgrounds, attendees are encouraged to proudly wear their native traditional garment cultural attire.

The festival is growing this year to have three stages, Waldon said, to feature music, poetry and heritage dance performances.

A highlight of the Hampton Mosaic Festival are the traditional music, stories, drumming and dance from organizations representing indigenous, Asian, European and African cultures. This diverse range of performances allows festival-goers to immerse themselves in the rich cultural tapestry of Hampton and experience different traditions. 

This year, guests can enjoy performances by bands like Grupo Ritmo Son, the Mosaic Steel Orchestra, the Doorway Singers and United Souls Reggae Band.

Food enthusiasts will also be delighted by the presence of food trucks and vendors showcasing meals and traditional customs including Italian cuisine, Egyptian delicacies and Soul Food.

To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, the festival will include nature displays, exhibitors and resiliency activities designed to highlight how Hampton’s unique culture plays a key role in protecting the natural environment. 

The James River Association will offer boat rides, while kids can make and take beeswax candles to create butterfly mosaics.

 Within the vicinity of the festival is Hampton’s historical 1920 carousel, which was recently restored and reopened this spring. One of only 170 antique carousels still in the United States, the horse chariots were carved from fine-grained hardwood. 

German, Italian and Russian immigrant artisans painted the chariots,  further emphasizing the blending of cultures at the Mosaic Festival.

The Hampton Mosaic Festival is Saturday, April 20, at Mill Point Park, 100 Eaton Street from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Parking and admission is free; maps, schedules and more information can be found here.

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