By Maddie Silverstein, Marketing and Communications Intern
On Saturday September 15, we paired up with the Mayor’s office of International and Cultural Affairs to celebrate Indy’s eight sister cities. The Sister Cities International Festival provided good fun, food, music, and more for the whole family.
The International Center not only had a booth set up at the festival, but helped plan the event. Peter Kirkwood, officer of protocol at The International Center, played a crucial part in the logistic aspects of the festival and also provided the day with flags from every country. Jennifer Dennis, stakeholder relations coordinator at The International Center, organized all of the volunteers that worked throughout the day at the festival, which I got to help with!
Jennifer had the task of organizing and managing over 70 volunteers the day of the festival. I helped her with whatever she needed to make sure the day went smoothly. I really enjoyed getting to work the festival all day because I had helped her with volunteers the weeks before and it was awesome to see everything fall into place the day of.
The festival took place at City Market and Market St. It featured a booth from each of the sister cities (Campinas, Brazil; Cologne, Germany; Northampton, United Kingdom; Hangzhou, China; Hyderabad, India; Monza, Italy; Piran, Slovenia; Taipei, Republic of China) along with shopping and food vendor booths. It was a really unique experience to have an international variety of shopping, especially because I love fair-trade jewelry.
A diverse crowd of people showed up to enjoy all of the different performances of the day from belly dancers to Latin music. The highlight of all the performances for me was definitely the group Delhi 2 Dublin. This group has unique style that fuses Bhangra and Celtic music. They kept everyone dancing and were the perfect way to end the festival.
Overall, the festival was a great experience for anyone working or attending. It had so much life to it along with cultural awareness. It was a unique way of experiencing different cultures and countries while remaining in Indianapolis. Some booths offered games or other fun interactive activities to teach festival goers about their country or another culture. The International Center had chopsticks and people would have to pick up candy using the chopsticks (tip: Mike & Ikes are much easier to pick up with chopsticks than Sweet Tarts).
Although I did not excel in the art of eating Sweet Tarts with chopsticks it was still one of the most fun festivals I have been to and hope to go to something like it again.