The celebrate commUNITY festival will be hitting the County Fairgrounds in Fond Du Lac on February 16.
Celebrate commUNITY has been a staple of the community in Fond Du Lac since 2008, when the event was started by United For Diversity. The goal is to give everyone from the area a chance to mingle with and get to know people from other ethnic backgrounds.
There will be concessions, entertainers, booths with a diverse range of foods and trinkets from all over the world. This year’s event will feature music from Germany, Japanese dancers and a Native American drum ceremony. Bread of Life gospel choir will also perform. Throughout the day there will be kids activities, a silent auction and a scavenger hunt.
Doors will open at the Fond Du Lac Fairgrounds Recreation Center on 17th St at 11 am on February 16. The festival will begin winding down at around 3pm. It is the largest multicultural event in the Fond Du Lac area. It is free for kids under 12 years old.
“We advocate for diversity in general,” United For Diversity President Tracy Abler told FoxValley365. “People love to come for the free food samples. We have stage entertainment. We try to get a really diverse group of entertainers from around the world.”
The celebrate commUNITY event began in 2008 after an area boy was attacked by skinheads. The family of the victim responded by holding a peace vigil, which led to annual event to remind the community to come together and celebrate diversity.
“We want a more peaceful community,” Abler said. “So from that event, our group was formed. We still have racism around here. It shows up when there’s certain articles in the paper and people under mysterious names will post really racist things. There’s really a lot of biases that people have. We’ve come a long way. We kind of are a voice for things that come up in the community that seem unfair.”
Abler says they’ve been able to keep about the same numbers in attendance for the past decade and recently have expanded to include more diverse groups in the festival.
“Our funding has increased a little bit. We’ve defined diversity a little more. The LGBT groups are going to be here and they’re going to bear their flags,” Abler said. “So that evokes good conversations and breaks down barriers.”