CultureFest to take on new Downtown Springfield location

CultureFest’s tagline is “Where traditions unite to inspire the future.”

This annual celebration is a family-friendly event focused on unity through diversity.

“CultureFest is a multi-cultural festival established to promote intercultural understanding by providing an environment where our diversity can be explored, enjoyed, and celebrated,” says Aaron Clark, the City of Springfield’s Neighborhood Planning Coordinator. “The mission is to create a community festival full of energy that brings people together to have a good time learning about each other's cultures; through music, food, dance, and a variety of other activities.” 

There are two big changes coming to this year’s event, including the location. CultureFest will move to National Road Commons, 50 W. Main St., from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23. A kick-off night also has been added from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, on top of the 99 Parking Garage, where the community is encouraged to bring their chairs and enjoy some great entertainment and games.

This festival started in 1997 and its goal every year is to celebrate and promote cultural inclusion, understanding, and education within the community.

“This event is necessary in the community to foster cultural inclusion and understanding,” Clark explains. “It provides an opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to come together and learn about different cultures, traditions, and perspectives. By promoting education and appreciation of various cultures, it helps build a more inclusive and harmonious community.”

Each year a variety of talent is sought out to bring families together to enjoy a little bit of each culture.

This year’s entertainment features hip hop dance and Mexican folk dance, as well as jazz, Latin, soul, pop, rock, country, and Gospel musicians. There will also be vendors with merchandise, food trucks, a DJ, the Cincinnati Circus, and kids’ activities, including sack races, a balloon artist, face painting, inflatable pop- a-shot, workshops on how to juggle and walk the tight rope, and strolling stilt walkers.

Clark – who is one of the key leaders of CultureFest along with Jackie Downing – says they are always looking for ways to continue to expand, grow, and appeal to the community as a whole. The feedback they receive drives their mission.

“The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive,” Clark says. “CultureFest attracts a wide range of attendees, including individuals from different cultural backgrounds, local businesses, community organizations, and families. The event has witnessed growing support and participation over the years, which reflects the community's appreciation for and recognition of the importance of cultural diversity.”

Clark updates the event’s Facebook page with regular reminders, teasers, and vendor information to keep the community excited and prepared for the celebration.

The main stage radio host will be Faith Daniels from WROU 92.1 with Eric “DJ Swig" Clark playing music throughout the weekend.

Friday night’s entertainment includes The Vinyl Vultures and The Matthew Clarkson Band.

Saturday’s celebration includes performances from: the Springfield High School marching band, Springfield American Sign Language, Dayton FunkLab, Pamana Dance Group, pop band Honey and Blue, Deron Bell Band, the Champion City Choir, Satchmo the Musical Starring Dean Simms. Eu-Fuego Latin Band, Ball et Folclórico Xochihua Mexican Folk, Egyptian Breeze, and hip-hop fusion band Mistar Anderson.

Food vendors will include Bass Smith Connection, Southside Squeeze, Poppy’s Smokehouse, New Orleans Grill, Cupzilla, The Painted Pepper, Leerah’s Vegan Treats, Yo Vinney Fish and Fries, Da Fudges Kitchen, Chester’s Concessions, Creole Bites, Mak Boba, Blended By J, Chick-fil-A Springfield, Michael’s All About Burgers, and Mama Nola's pies.

This free celebration is supported through event sponsors and the generosity of many individuals and organizations in the Springfield community.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.