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Posted on: March 13, 2017

Morrisville Wins Diversity Award

The Town of Morrisville received the National League of Cities (NLC) City Cultural Diversity Awards at the NLC 2017 Congressional City Conference this week. Six cities were honored across three population categories, with Morrisville receiving first place in the “less than 50,000 residents” category for the East Meets West Festival. Mayor Pro Tem Steve Rao accepted the award at the conference on Monday morning. Town Council recognized the achievement during its regularly scheduled Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.

The East Meets West Festival closes down Morrisville’s main street, Town Hall Drive, to celebrate both the energy and diversity of the community, with a day of food, culture, and music from around the world each year. The Festival, coordinated by the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce with significant support from the Town, is a favorite among residents. 

“Morrisville is one of the fastest growing and most diverse towns in North Carolina. The population has grown by more than 200% in the last 12 years, and is on pace to continue to grow at a similar pace for the foreseeable future,” said Mayor Pro Tem Rao, when he accepted the award. “Our Council includes two of the first Indian American’s elected to office in the state of North Carolina. The Festival is incredibly important to Town Council as a means of both connecting with the public and showcasing how our diversity is representative of the community.” 

“The City Cultural Diversity Award not only showcases the East Meets West festival, but the tradition of respect for diversity in Morrisville,” said Morrisville Chamber of Commerce President Sarah Gaskill. “The Morrisville Innovation Foundation is thrilled to continue partnering with the Town on this treasured festival, and invite people from across the region to join us for the 2017 festival on Saturday, September 23.”

The East Meets West Festival began as the Taste of Morrisville event in 2011, when the Town recognized the need for a dedicated event to showcase what makes Morrisville uniquely diverse, and has blossomed into a celebration of unique cultures. Local restaurants sell small plates of their specialties and participate in a friendly competition of foods. A festival stage hosts performances from groups representing the community's many cultures – ranging from Indian Asian and Irish to the American Southeast. There are also numerous activities for children. These include cultural dancing, face painting, and arts and crafts. Admission to the Festival is free. Additional details are available at

The Morrisville Innovation Foundation, which is a program of the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, has coordinated the East Meets West Festival since 2013. The Innovation Foundation’s mission is to, “provide the building blocks for economic development, entrepreneurship and civic engagement.” The Town of Morrisville partners through oversight and management of event logistics, staffing and promotion. More information about the Innovation Foundation are available at

NLC established the City Cultural Diversity Awards in 1995 to honor cities with innovative cultural diversity initiatives. The Diversity Awards Program showcases examples of how cities achieve excellence in diversity. It also promotes the positive results of "a total community collaboration." The awards are given in four population categories to honor community leadership in developing creative and effective programs to improve cultural diversity. More information about the National League of Cities and the City Cultural Diversity Awards is available at
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