FAIRFIELD — Solano County government held its annual multicultural fair Thursday for its employees and gave them some time to attend.
The event has county departments share food, music and other aspects from different cultures and countries. It ran from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., giving employees the chance to attend a portion of it. Citizens entering the lobby of the Government Center during the noon hour could have seen some of the cultural dances.
The multicultural fair is about more than play, though it is a festive event, county spokesman Stephen Pierce said.
“It’s something that’s happening as a way to educate the county’s work force about the different cultures among the county’s employees,” he said. “It’s all about the grander idea. We’re one of the most diverse counties in Northern California.”
That awareness helps employees in interacting with both their peers and citizens, he said.
Employees can participate in the fair during their lunch hour, Pierce said. Those in the county Government Center are also given half an hour of paid time to go to the fair and those who work in other parts of the county are given an hour of paid time, he said.
In that sense, the county treats the event as it does an educational fair or health fair, he said. Food and other items come from fundraisers done by the different departments, he said.
George Guynn of the Central Solano Citizen Taxpayer Group questioned why employees at the county Government Center should be given an extra half an hour to attend the fair, given that they have no travel time.
Guynn said he doesn’t want the multicultural fair run on the taxpayers’ dime. While he said he doesn’t see a major problem with the once-a-year event, he expressed concern that the practice of giving employees time to attend such events could grow.
A steady stream of employees came to the event and it was well-attended, Pierce said. But the majority didn’t stay for as long as an hour, he said.
The Solano County Board of Supervisors in 1998 declared October as Multicultural Awareness Month and told the county Equal Employment Opportunity Committee to develop and sponsor annual event.
The event is to promote communication of social values and a sense of community and to increase the awareness of diverse cultures that represent the citizens and employees within the county, according to a 2010 county report.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.