Under the glaring sun, a large crowd gathered to celebrate the growing diversity of one of Calgary’s fastest growing communities Thursday afternoon.

Hundreds of people danced, painted, and enjoyed a wide array of food at the annual summer festival hosted by The Immigrant Education Society (TIES) in Forest Lawn.

Several festival activities were oriented around social interaction, and organizers suggested this was the true value of the event.

"We want newcomers to get to know the society, the mainstream, but we also want mainstream people to get to know newcomers better," explained Sally Zhao, CEO of TIES. "We hear of discrimination, but I really think it’s about not knowing each other."

An important social resource, TIES aids underprivileged families and helps to integrate new families into Canadian society.

Zhao believes multicultural events are an important part of forming the fabric of a diverse society.

"It’s very beneficial for us to work together and through our differences and similarities we can build stronger communities."

The annual Summer Festival was held at the TIES office located at 1723 40 Street S.E.