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Festival Again Successful and Fun

Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A recent article in the Finger Lakes Times featured the Festival of Nations, held at the Geneva Middle and High Schools. A collaborative effort between the Geneva City School District and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the sixth annual Festival of Nations took place on Saturday, April 20. A basket raffle held during the event raised $463 for the Geneva Center of Concern.

The article noted, "More than 27 businesses,11 music and dance groups and 47 organizations gathered to sponsor the event and showcase the diversity in this Ontario County community. Thousands of men, women and children were expected to sample the atmosphere during its two-hour run."

Now in its sixth year, the Festival has become a standby in the community, well attended for the diverse array of cultural, educational and service offerings it presents.

According to the Finger Lakes Times, "The extraordinary flavors, scents, colors and information paled in comparison to the common feeling of acceptance and appreciation. Strangers walking in close proximity to one another due to the volume of guests smiled, shook hands and offered warm greetings."

"Indeed, Saturday's event wound up being a festival of good will."

The full article about the Festival of Nations follows.

Finger Lakes Times
Festival of Good Will
Sixth annual event draws big crowds to a celebration of diversity

Julie Anderson • April 21, 2013

GENEVA - From seemingly miles away the savory smell of chicken barbecue floated through the air. One of the surest American scents greeted visitors to one of the area's most collaborative celebrations of diversity in our region.

The sixth annual Festival of Nations, held Saturday afternoon in Geneva high and middle schools, provided an experience people of all ages and ethnicities could enjoy on an unseasonably cold spring Saturday.

More than 27 businesses,11 music and dance groups and 47 organizations gathered to sponsor the event and showcase the diversity in this Ontario County community. Thousands of men, women and children were expected to sample the atmosphere during its two-hour run.

The schools' halls were lined with booths housing nonprofit organizations, local businesses and school clubs striving to bring awareness to the public on what they had to offer.

Various sections showcased countries from around the world. Posters and artwork of flags and national representations that were created by students hung on the walls, celebrating the rich culture here. Tables wielded displays of delicious foods from different nationalities, everything from the sweet concoction of a fruit salsa of Australian descent to the hearty Sons of Italy meatballs that make mouths water.

Students and workers shared their experiences of volunteering, showcasing the causes in which they believe. Representatives from Hobart and William Smith Colleges' Hope House were eager to participate.

"It is a great way to educate people and to spread awareness," one volunteer said.

In the gym, games from all corners of the world - tangrams, checkers, jacks, origami, coloring and mancala, to name a new - were being played. A large hop-scotch setup was outlined in tape on the gym floor, enticing kids and adults alike to participate.

Isiah Grady, a senior at Geneva High School, was making awards for the hop-scotch games from paper plates.

"I just wanted to help," Grady said.

The diversity stretched from the African American Men's Association to the Jewish Hillel. William Smith College students drew calligraphy of the Chinese zodiac for those who stopped at their table, and the Presbyterian Church of Geneva's Sales Exchange Refugee Rehabilitation Vocation set up a gallery of international treasures from 40 different countries that the public was welcome to purchase.

Organizations representing addiction prevention, foster families, the ARC and Head Start - and many, many more - engaged participants with useful information and giveaways.

"It is a great way to connect people to services," Ontario County Public Health employee Teresa
Shaffer stated.

A basket raffle raised $463 for the Geneva Center of Concern.

Geneva school district Superintendent Trina Newton was excited about attending her first Festival of Nations. She said she was thrilled at the cross-section of diversity that each table and area represented.

Two seventh-graders were among workers preparing foods for the Australian section. They seemed to be enjoying their volunteer experience.

The music of a local choir rang through the halls. Local arts advocate Pablo Falbru gleefully participated.

The extraordinary flavors, scents, colors and information paled in comparison to the common feeling of acceptance and appreciation. Strangers walking in close proximity to one another due to the volume of guests smiled, shook hands and offered warm greetings.

Indeed, Saturday's event wound up being a festival of good will.

 

 


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