Mixing up the melting pot

NEWPORT COAST — It definitely wasn't something you'd associate with a beach town like Newport Beach.

Sun shining and blue sky overhead, the four Wimberley siblings filled the Sage Hill School courtyard with the sounds of traditional bluegrass music, banjo and all.

With Michael, 12, as lead singer, twins Mark and James, 16, on the guitar and banjo and Danielle, 17, on the bandolim, the quartet showed Sage Hill families and guests another side to the county.

"When we were younger we heard bluegrass on CD and really liked it," Mark said. "It's energetic, fast. It's hard to find bluegrass in California."

And exploring local diversity was exactly what Saturday at the Newport Coast private high school was all about as it celebrated its 10th annual multicultural festival.

"We're all one in the sense that we all enjoy each other's food, culture, music," said Janelle Mendez, whose son is a sophomore at the school. "It'd be a very boring, black-and-white world if we weren't all so different."

For the better part of Saturday afternoon, the school offered the community a glimpse into what a melting pot country can bring to the table. Dozens of booths were set up where guests could taste food from Central and South America, Asia and the Middle East. There was also a bazaar where visitors could buy international trinkets and jewelry.

"It's a big celebration of everyone's differences, if even for only a little while," said Drew Ishii, a math teacher at the school.

Admission was $7 at the door, with a portion of the proceeds going to the school's Financial Aid Endowment Fund.

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