South Bend’s beloved Ethnic Festival reimagined as ‘Fusion Fest’

Popular festival from the past returning this upcoming September to Howard Park
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 2:35 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - South Bend’s last Ethnic Festival was held about 20 years ago, but city officials say they are bringing back a reimagined version of it this upcoming September.

“Fusion Fest” will be held from Sept. 9-10 at Howard Park. The two-day festival will be filled with food vendors, music, demonstrations, and artisans from every region of the world.

Officials determined back in February that the festival was going to make a comeback, but were waiting to release details.

The Ethnic Festival itself dates back to 1974. Toward the end of its run, the name was switched to Summer in the City. The city’s last summer festival was held around 2004, but city officials say it remains one of the most well-attended and loved events in the region.

“After more than 20 years, I am excited that we are bringing back a reimagined Ethnic Festival that celebrates our diverse, rich cultures in the South Bend region,” said Mayor James Mueller in a press release. “Fusion Fest not only celebrates our multi-cultural backgrounds but also brings our community together to enjoy a variety of food and fun activities.”

Howard Park and surrounding streets will be separated into global regions with stages and vendors located at each corresponding region: North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia/Australia.

“Fusion Fest will be an unforgettable multicultural experience, whether it’s your first time attending, or you’ve been before two decades ago,” said Jordan Gathers, Venues Parks & Arts interim executive director. “This one-of-a-kind event seamlessly blends music, entertainment, cuisine, and excitement to create a feeling of togetherness and sense of unity. You will leave feeling more connected than ever before.”

If you are passionate about sharing their culture through food, art, storytelling, music, or dance, you can apply to participate in Fusion Fest by clicking here.

The Ethnic Festival began in 1974 and ran for about 20 years.
The Ethnic Festival began in 1974 and ran for about 20 years.(WNDU)

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