Kings Contrivance church festival celebrates diversity

More than 6,000 people attended the Orthodox Church of St. Matthew's Multi-Cultural Festival at the Kings Contrivance village center, according to co-chair Tina Lentscher. The event, held Oct. 5-6, celebrated the church and Columbia's diversity.

According to Lentscher, the festival sold ethnic food prepared by the church's diverse parish, which includes parishioners with Ethiopian, Greek, Lebanese, Romanian and Slavic heritage. In its sixth year, the festival also offered free multi-cultural entertainment and a tour of the church.

"Although it is a fundraiser, one of its more important aspects is community outreach," said Lentscher. "It's a reflection of the different ethnicities in our church. Out of all these cultures, we have one thing in common, the orthodox faith."

Lentscher said the event it "unique to Columbia," which was founded on inclusion and promoting diversity within the community.

"We have many different backgrounds and we try to represent that at the festival," Lentscher said.

The event annually raises in the neighborhood of $30,000, Lentscher said, but added it was too early to estimate this year's total. However, expectations are high given the attendance and good weather, she said.

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