Ethnic festivals bring neighbors togetherWritten by Christine Senack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of our region’s favorite summer events are festivals. Food, music, games and dancing just have a way of drawing people to an event. Festivals also are affordable entertainment for families. The Toledo area has quite a few legendary church festivals, but it also features a number of great ethnic festivals. Recently, friends and neighbors celebrated their ethnic heritage and diverse futures at the Polish Festival and the African American Festival.
The Lagrange Development Corporation (LDC) hosted its annual Polish Festival turning the Lagrange Street business corridor into a Polish Village for the three-day event. The Polish Festival has three objectives, said Terry Glazer, executive director of LDC.
Firstly, the purpose of the event is to market the neighborhood as an attractive place to live and do business. The festival draws between 25,000 and 30,000 people each year, including nonresidents who get to see the improvements and opportunities in the district.
Secondly, the festival is a fundraiser for neighborhood projects. Funds raised go toward scholarships for students living in the neighborhood and provide grants to business owners and homeowners to improve the curb appeal of the area.
Finally, the festival honors the Polish heritage of the neighborhood and shares that with the increasingly diverse group of people who call the Lagrange-area home.
One of the lead sponsors of the Polish Festival was Modern Builder’s Supply (MBS) which sponsored the children’s activity area. MBS became a supporter of the event when it was relocated to the neighborhood when the new Jeep factory was built. Glazer said LDC helped MBS with the move and is pleased, not only with their sponsorship of the Polish Festival, but also with their contributions as a key partner in the district.
“Modern Builder’s Supply built a beautiful facility in our neighborhood and supplies some of the materials for our improvement projects,” said Glazer. “They have generously sponsored the children’s area for years.”
Glazer is still working on final numbers for the event, but believes that this year’s Polish Festival will net at least as much as last year, which raised approximately $50,000 for LDC.
The Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union (TUFCU) sponsored the fifth annual African American Festival. The two-day event featured a parade, community health fair, food and concerts by local and national musicians.
Returning as a sponsor this year was State Farm Insurance, which provided underwriting for the children’s area. Going beyond traditional arts and crafts activities, the African American Festival’s children’s area featured mini-versions of midway rides. Suzette Cowell, executive director of TUFCU, said she appreciated State Farm’s continued sponsorship.
“It is really great for State Farm to sponsor the rides,” said Cowell. “In this economy, for kids to have free rides at a festival is amazing.”
The African American Festival was also sponsored by the University of Toledo, which opened portions of the Scott Park campus for the festival.
July 25: Le BBQ. At this new summertime fundraiser for the Toledo Opera enjoy live music and dancing, gourmet casual food, cash bar and casual dress. Proceeds benefit Toledo Opera’s Education and Outreach Programs. Tickets are $50 per person. For more information, visit toledoopera.org or call (419)255-SING.
Christine Senack is a Toledo-based consultant helping nonprofit organizations, businesses and individuals work smarter for the greater good of our community. On occasion she also presents the TMZ Report on FOX Toledo News First at 4. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.