By Brynn Schintgen
GREEN BAY – Sept. 9 marked Green Bay’s second annual International & Community Festival, which took place at the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center and featured dance demonstrations, traditional storytelling and performances from various cultures, booths representing different cultural groups in the Green Bay area and a Children’s Business Fair which highlighted the businesses of young entrepreneurs, with proceeds going toward relief efforts in Maui.
Somalia, Ukraine, the Oneida Nation and the Hmong were just a few of the many cultures represented.
With a strong sense of inclusion and unity, it was a vibrant display of the various groups that make Green Bay, well, Green Bay. One of the organizers, Tim Perlewitz, said that the purpose of the festival was to “celebrate bringing people together” and to “magnify what’s already here.”
Perlewitz said the festival aimed to fill a gap in the market.
He said for years there have been many festivals put on by different cultural groups in the area, but he, along with organizer Kristine Blum, wanted a space where people could exchange their traditions and create dialogue between groups.
“One of the most rewarding parts of organizing this event,” Perlewitz said, “is seeing children and families light up and try new things.”
Both Perlewitz and Blum emphasized that one of the most important things they need to make next year’s festival even better is feedback from the community.
They noted how they want to make sure they are “reflecting the community accurately,” and want to be “actively and honestly engaged…making sure we’re not missing anything.”
The International & Community Festival has focused on the representation of the various cultures that call Green Bay home.
For more information or to provide feedback, visit www.gbkroccenter.org/events.