PHOTO: Brenda Perez, right, tells Alderman Pearl Bransford about her body paint and the instrument she is playing // Photo by Brooke Wanser
By BROOKE WANSER
On Saturday, folks wandered in and around 4th Street and an adjacent alleyway as they listened to live music, gazed at art and crafts, tasted food from Colombia, Mexico and more at the Celebration of Nations festival.
Brenda Perez, wearing traditional Dia de los Muertos face and body paint, played a jarana, a string instrument native to the coastal region of Veracruz, Mexico.
“It’s an instrument that was played in the fields by farmworkers,” she said. Jose Vera, a Nashville artist with a booth at the festival, did her intricate makeup.
Live musicians played on two different stages during the course of the day, with headliners Phil Keaggy, Jonell Mosser and the San Rafael Band, among others.
Mike Thompson, the president of Sister Cities of Franklin and Williamson County, has lived in Franklin his entire life.
“When they were looking for a fundraiser, it was kind of a brainstorming of the board that started this about nine years ago,” Thompson said.
He also said the event began at O’More College, before transitioning to downtown Franklin a few years ago.
“It’s the only multicultural festival downtown that we’re aware of,” Thompson said, as he noted the importance of learning from different cultures. “Williamson County, Tennessee and the U.S. are so multicultural.”
The organization’s mission statement is to promote learning by building global relationships, sharing cultural experiences and inspiring economic growth.