World Festival 2008 Wrap-up

by riamn. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

Dear World Festival Friends,

You will certainly agree that our 33rd World Festival “One World – Many Cultures” was a wonderful event and a great success. A big thank you to everybody involved!

The World Festival is the best opportunity for our international community to share its diverse heritage with everybody. We can show our traditions, food, cultural richness and make ourselves be known as neighbors, friends and contributors to the wonderful fabric of Rochester. But we not only extended our hand to the “majority”, we also had great fun networking among each other.

We had unprecedented support for the World Festival from the local media and could reach many people, who otherwise would not have ever come to an event like this. When I was sitting in the gym watching some performances, I heard many comments like “I never knew there was such a thing” or “I have never seen anything like it” or “this is amazing for Rochester” and others. That means we did our job well of educating in a fun way and reaching out. We had great cultural displays and the food as always was one of the highlights. Our Children’s Center was amazing and unbelievably busy. The Friday night show was a wonderful display of talent and a trip around the world in itself.

We changed many things this year that turned out to be quite positive: We invited vendors to sell ethnic items in the cafeteria, we had all the organizations in the lobby as people were coming in. We had Saturday performances. We condensed many things in the gym, which provided a festive atmosphere and had the effect that the wonderful people with cultural displays were not isolated in the hallways. The Friday night “big show” offered family tickets this year, which was great and made it possible for large families to come.

It is always hard to single out people to thank individually in such a big communal effort (so please forgive me, that I can’t include everybody): John Berquist as the chair, Phyllis Layton as volunteer coordinator, Addie Borja with many many things, Margaret and Jim Favre for a wonderful children’s program, Glen Saponari for endless efforts and energy, Lee Herold for flags flags everywhere, Mary Glenski for varied jobs, Thomas Yung for leadership in technology and web to collaborate and inform, and the RIA board in general for this big effort. It was a total volunteer effort and commitment.

We cannot forget to thank our sponsors. It costs a lot of money to put on such an event. Without our sponsors we would have to charge entrance fees for the Saturday events, which would exclude many people.

We are certainly open to suggestions for future World Festivals. Please join us next year in organizing it. We start in September and invite everybody to participate in whatever way they can. Contact the RIA if you want to join us.

Thank you all for participating!

Herta Matteson
RIA Vice President