By Kaylee LaRocque
NAS Jacksonville Public Affairs Officer
Despite the hot, humid weather, there was a good turnout for the Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) Multicultural Awareness Fun Day July 19. Military and civilian personnel gathered at the Patriots Park Pavilion to learn about other cultures as they enjoyed food samples from the Caribbean and Romania.
The event showcased numerous cultures through command-sponsored booths, games, a fashion show from the Fil-Am Community Council of Northeast Florida and traditional dancing by members of the St. Anne's Romanian Orthodox Church in Jacksonville.
The fair is sponsored by the NAS Jax Multicultural Awareness Committee (MCAC), which is comprised of volunteers from different commands.
The committee plans and coordinates all aspects of the event. "This event gives us an opportunity to recognize different cultures that are not recognized throughout the year," said NAS Jax Command Climate Specialist AMC(AW/SW) Joanna Madrid, a member of the committee. "There are 11 other presentations held throughout the year to recognize diversity that are mandated by Congress. The month of July doesn't have any special diversity recognitions so we offer a 'fun day' for anyone who would like to come out and represent their cultures."
"Today, we have Romania represented with food and information, the Fleet and Family Support Center is representing the country Belize and offering samples of Caribbean food, the Navy Exchange is hosting a United States booth complete with a popcorn machine and several other commands are representing other countries," she explained. "We also have Hope Therapy here which provides horse-assisted therapy to adults included wounded warriors and children. They are always looking for volunteers to help out at the ranch in Middleburg, Florida."
"The Multi-Cultural Awareness Committee spends many hours planning and coordinating this event each year," said Madrid.
As guests munched on the different types of food items, they enjoyed spending time with friends and co-workers.
"I'm here to celebrate diversity," said AT2(AW) Gary Arbuckle of Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11. "My girlfriend is Romanian so I am here to support my friends from Romania."
If you are interested in joining the MCAC, meetings are on the first and third Wednesdays of the month in Building 118 (Air Operations) conference room at 2:15 p.m.