Thursday night, people from all over the world attended and celebrated different cultures and diversity at the Walker County Fairgrounds at the third annual Festival of United Cultures.

Residents of Huntsville both young and old came out Thursday night and enjoyed an evening of good food, entertainment, and other festivities.

Despite many people being away for the summer, Huntsville Cultural Diversity Forum had an impressive turnout for its annual diversity dinner.

David Prier, president of the Huntsville Diversity Forum, started the evening of events by giving the keynote address and blessing the food that was served immediately after he finished.

“I really enjoy the food and seeing the different types of dances and Texas cultures,” said Yuki Fukui, a student that is part of an international exchange program here in Huntsville.

Some of the churches that provided food for the event were First United Methodist Church, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Warren Chapel, and First Baptist Church.

Huntsville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship provided water and lemonade for the event.

Wal-Mart provided a cake and the City of Huntsville provided the ice for the festival.

While those attending enjoyed their food they also had the opportunity to visit some of the tables that had been set up by different community churches and groups.

Tall Pines Quilt Guild, Community Praise Ministry, The Boys and Girls Club, The Church of Latter-Day Saints, and others had tables lined with information about their group and their contribution to the cultural diversity at the festival.

After everyone had been served, the festival continued with the entertainment segment.

The opening was act Amazing Grace and My God sung by one of Huntsville’s youth, Steven Lee.

The emcee of the entertainment segment, Harley Rex, kept the transitions between the acts lively and at one point got the audience involved by having everyone sing Deep In the Heart of Texas.

There were other musical performances throughout the night including several other solo performances.

The genre’s of music performed ranged from Gospel and Country-Western to Pop and Rock.

There was also a traditional Mexican dance performance by Ballet Folklorico Youth.

“I had a lot of fun going up and dancing – we just found out we would be performing last week but we’ve been performing every year so we were prepared,” said Yesenia Nieto.

The night ended with several song selections from Young Gifted and Talented Christian Group.

This year was the first year that Huntsville Cultural Diversity Forum has hosted its annual dinner in July.

“We haven’t had as many people turn out as we did when we held it in February but I think that this year has been a success,” said Joan Stringer, President of Huntsville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

The overall atmosphere at the festival helped to facilitate the exchange of ideas and cultures amongst the many different ethnic groups in the area.

Those interested in getting involved with Huntsville Cultural Diversity Forum can contact Mary Novark at (936) 291-6745 or (936) 344-6715.