Expose your business and meet new customers

Best FestBy Bon Tindle, Unite Contributing Writer

The 19th Annual Springfield Multicultural Festival will be held January 18, 2016 at Juanita K. Hammons Hall. The event will last from noon until 4:00 p.m. This event is presented by Unite of Southwest Missouri.

The festival will host over fifty exhibitors and performers representing cultures all around the world. Exhibits will include health care information, local community and social groups, educational opportunities and employment opportunities.

“Our goal is building empowering connections in our communities. It is our hope that festival guests will come away with a broader understanding and appreciation of the diverse opportunities available in the Springfield and southwest Missouri,” says Samuel Knox. The festival has reached nearly 2,000 people in the past and they hope to meet or exceed that number this year, as diversity issues have remained in the headlines and multicultural citizens have increased in number.

The event is comprised of two portions. First, the exhibition area is where exhibitors share information with guests. People are encouraged to learn about community resources and ask questions, make connections and meet others from the same communities. This powerful networking and fellowship opportunity is one of the greatest attractions of the Springfield Multicultural Festival.

The entertainment portion is the result of many hours of hard work and practice. Traditional and modern cultural arts are represented. Groups will perform fifteen to thirty minute blocks where they will illustrate their culture for the audience, performing and giving brief introductions so the audience doesn’t miss a thing. There is a main stage where cultures will rotate through the entire event and interact with the crowd.

Stressing the importance of diversity and inclusion in the Springfield area is important, and the generous sponsors will have information on display at the event as well. “They are a crucial part of what we do,” says Knox. “Their monetary gifts and support are necessary to the success of events like these. We depend on them.” Each year, the event reaches more people and includes more cultures, as Springfield becomes more diverse. This means that demand and costs increase, and thanks to this aid citizens, students and workers from other cultures can enjoy an event created and hosted just for them.

There will be displays for children as well, to emphasize the family friendly environment. Balloon animals and other displays and exhibits will entertain the little ones while the older children will appreciate the cultural displays on the main stage and the participants in the crowd who will be wearing traditional costumes and modern outfits from other places.

“It’s a very exciting time,” says Knox. “We hope to increase the number of people we reach each year.” For more information about exhibiting at the festival call (417)864-7444.