By Timothy Rawles / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
(Maricopa, AZ) Maricopa County is getting ready to celebrate its diverse population with a big new event called the Copa Cultural Night Market. This free, inclusive community get-together takes place on March 25, 2022, from 6 to 10 p.m.
"We will have a number of groups performing on our main stage, food trucks representing international cuisines, and an art gallery sponsored by Maricopa Friends of the Arts," said special events and marketing supervisor for the City of Maricopa, Ellen Buddington. "We also have the opportunity for organizations, clubs, artists, and performers to sign up to participate in our 'Culture Row' and community stage on the condition they demonstrate something unique or educational with regard to their culture or lifestyle."
Maricopa is Arizona's most populous county containing 62% of the state's population. The goal for this inaugural event is an effort to celebrate the community’s diversity and offer insight into various local cultures and art forms.
The evening's entertainment is still being produced, but thus far attendees can expect to see Chinese Lion Dancers, Polynesian hula and fire knife entertainers, Kizomba African dancers, a Latin dance demonstration, traditional Thai dancers, and Buffalo Soldiers Band.
Nathan Ullyot, director of the community services department, said he wants the Copa Cultural Night Market to be a celebration of varied customs that will help others learn more about the people in their community and forge long-lasting relationships through inclusivity.
"We hope that our residents and visitors will discover something about their local and greater global community," he said. "The entertainment, food, and shopping will attract the crowd, but our hope is that attendees will learn how they can get connected with one of the groups here in Maricopa."
Maricopa County contains some of the most culturally rich and diverse counties in the state. Cities such as Phoenix, Mesa, Encanto, and Tempe are all places that rank high in both ethnic and economic diversity.
The Copa Cultural Night Market will be an annual affair that will become a highlight to the county's special events calendar.
"Our events and programs are designed to connect people face to face wherever possible," adds Ullyot. "That’s where community is felt and not just talked about."
The Copper Sky Regional Park is a 98-acre space that includes fitness and sports venues along with open areas for special events. This past January the park was host to the popular Copa Glow Night Market in which colorful hot air balloons lit up the night sky.
You can reserve select complimentary space for The Copa Cultural Night Market at Culture Row or get 10-15 minutes of community time for clubs, art, organizations, or performances showing something educational or unique regarding their culture. This space is limited and not guaranteed, though free.
"We’re excited to see this event grow and attract more arts and culture groups to participate in the next Copa Cultural event," said Ullyot.
There are pre-paid parking passes available for $7. Be sure to bring the receipt (digital is fine) and an ID that matches the receipt. Copper Sky Annual members are free. In person purchases are $10 on the day-of which can be bought either online or at the event.
A complimentary shuttle service runs from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Maricopa High School, Maricopa Elementary School, and Maricopa Wells Middle School. You will be taken to the intersection of Bowlin Road and Greythorn Drive. There is an A.D.A. shuttle pick-up from there to the event entrance. When you are done the shuttle will take you back to your parking area.
For more information click here.