CultureFest makes a comeback

CultureFest is back, and it's calling you to catch the vibe.

After a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Springfield's annual festival that celebrates unity through diversity is returning to Downtown Springfield. 

Organizers took the down time to revamp the event and shift the location and layout. 

"The whole vibe is different this year ... it's more of a street fair vibe," says organizer Aaron Clark, neighborhood planning coordinator for the City of Springfield's Community Development Department.

The event includes food vendors, sales vendors, community organizations, a kids' area and a stage - set up by the north side of the esplanade - for live musical and dance performances.

Some of the performances will include Egyptian Breeze, the Panama Dance Group, the Rheinlanders, The Vinyl Vultures, the Springfield Linedance and Urban Ballroom Group, The American Landscape, and Indian Punjabi Bhangra. 

The Kids' Area activities include a French culture activity, making maracas, Chinese calligraphy, tissue paper art, rock painting, face painting, juggling, and balloon artists. The Kids' Area will be set up near City Hall.

Food vendors will all be in the parking lot next to The State Theater, and sales vendors and organizations will be in the streets along South Fountain Avenue and East High Street - along both sides of City Hall.

"CultureFest is a good time for the city and the community to celebrate the different cultures and diversity we have here in our community," Clark says. "It's rare to be able to get everyone together in one place to celebrate where we come from. For CultureFest, you can come Downtown and see all different cultures celebrating each other - that is one of the great things about CultureFest.

The event is within the DORA, which lets attendees grab adult beverages and wonder throughout Downtown with them. This is a plus because of the variety of other events also happening this weekend. 

Looking to the future, Clark says CultureFest could continue to grow and expand.

"CultureFest has the potential to be bigger each year," Clark says. "I would like to get to a point where other people in other cities block out time on their calendar to look forward to coming here for CultureFest every year."

CutureFest goes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and is free to attend - you just pay for whatever you choose to buy to eat or drink or while shopping.

Other Downtown Events

Also this weekend, the Springfield Farmer's Market is still going strong in the alley between COhatch and The Heritage Center on Saturday. 

And, MustardFest takes over Mother Stewart's throughout Saturday and Sunday with samples of Woeber's Mustard, this year's MustardFest T-shirts for sale, a mustard recipe brunch cookoff and the annual Wiener Dog Races.