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The mission of GDMF is to create a world-class, multicultural festival that will offer Guelph and surrounding communities an affordable and accessible multi-faceted cultural experience. It is the intention of GDMF to use this platform to generate cultural awareness of and significant funding for local community groups, as well as foster economic development in Guelph and beyond.
The Festival had its beginnings as a small downtown event in 1978, organized by the Board of Directors from The Multicultural Centre in Guelph, and was held annually in the downtown core for 10 years. After a brief hiatus, the Festival was revived in 1996 due to overwhelming interest from other cultural groups. In 1997 the Board of Directors decided on a more suitable location for the growing Festival and thanks to a partnership between the City of Guelph and local businesses, it was moved to Riverside Park the following year to accommodate more visitors, food vendors, and performers. Since finding its new location, event attendance increased from 2,000 to 25,000 people and the content of the Festival has become more extensive.