Few Showed up for a Big International Show

  In this world of racial and ethnic strife, one has to support efforts to lessen and even prevent that strife by bringing people of different races and cultures together. That’s why I support One Columbus and that’s why I went down to the Columbus Civic Center to attend the International Festival, which is sponsored by the Mayor’s Commission and Unity and Diversity.

 A lot of different cultures and countries were represented with booths and entertainment groups.

  When I walked in a Japanese contingent was performing a dance. They were giving it their all and I enjoyed it.

Japanese Dancers, Columbus Civic Center

Japanese Dancers, Columbus Civic Center

Japanese Dancers, Columbus Civic Center

Japanese Dancers, Columbus Civic Center

   Afterwards I went over to the Japanese booth and chatted with Kazue Schmitz, who is married to Kurt Schmitz, WTVM weatherman.  She was writing people’s names in Japanese for them to take home as a souvenir.  She was pleased with the idea of diverse people gathering for a festival, but she was disappointed with size of the crowd. She and Mirta Fortin, originally from Guatemala, and now a teacher of Spanish at Columbus High School, who was hosting the Guatemala booth, who agreed with her, said there was just no advance publicity.

Kazue Schmitz, Columbus Civic Center

Kazue Schmitz, Columbus Civic Center

Mita Fortin, Columbus Civic Center

Mita Fortin, Columbus Civic Center

  You can’t expect people to come if they don’t know about it. The person in charge of sending out news releases said she sent them to the newspaper, radio and TV stations, but for some reason they didn’t seem interested. She said some showed to take some pictures at the event. That’s nice, but they could have gotten better crowd shots if they had let people know about it in advance.

Korean Fan Dancers, Columbus Civic Center

Korean Fan Dancers, Columbus Civic Center

    You hate to see people put out a big effort to share their cultural backgrounds with dances and displays and have to play to a lot of empty seats.

   I wouldn’t known about it if One Columbus Executive Director Ken Crooks hadn’t told about it during a speech he made Sunday morning at the Unitarian Fellowship of Columbus. He talked about diversity and unity combining in a community. More on that in a future post. Stay tuned.

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2 Responses to “Few Showed up for a Big International Show”

  1. Richard Says:

    And yet when I was at the festival in the 2:00 hour, the One Columbus table on the main floor was empty. Curious….

  2. Hermel D. Fortin Says:

    I “bumped into this site while surfing my wife’s name (Mirta Fortin) on the net in response to “Few Showed up for a Big International Show”
    Although I helped my wife set up and run the Guatemalan booth since the inception of the program, I informed her, that I would no longer return, because of the changed nature of the program that I experienced in 2007.

    1. The background opening music consisted of martial music from the USA, such as “Hail to the Chief, and “Sstars and Stripes Forever.” When I suggested that people might prefer to hear folk music from the various contries (because songs such as “Hail to the Chief’, “God save the Queen” or “Deutschland Ueber Alles”, might seem a little imperialistic) they told me they didn’t have any. When I pointed out to the two ladies at the desk, that almost any international booth would have CDs from their respective countries, they said they wernt allowed to use it (??)

    Later on, during the last 1/3 of the program, large contingents from the audience (all african americans) performed “Rap” and sorts of break dancing on stage. I had had enough. I told all concerned, that I would be back when International Day returned An international celebration is not the place for either the martial or the subculture music of our country. So that I might not be considered a bigot, or suffering from Xenophobia, I might add that I am a US Army retired Viet Nam Veteran, married to a” non-white” and am active in international activities in our area such as International Friendship Ministries, Plazas Communitarias, and in our hispanic Church, and sing and speak in 4 languages.

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