Fusion Fest kicks off in South Bend

Published: Sep. 9, 2023 at 9:26 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It’s a return 20 years in the making, as the city of South Bend has put a modern twist on the popular Ethnic Festival with the start of the brand-new Fusion Festival.

The two-day event kicked off today in Howard Park, which has been completely transformed into a miniature world map, with different areas set up by global regions.

“It’s a great way to celebrate the park and all that they’ve built up by the river and a great central place to celebrate a lot of diversity and what South Bend has to offer,” said festivalgoer Elizabeth Schleicher. “I think we had an idea of what it was going to represent. We saw people coming into town and being excited about it, and I think it’s a great celebration of what South Bend really is.”

There are over 100 vendors in attendance showcasing food, drinks, and jewelry from all around the world, and each global region has stages set up with musical and dance performances from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

“We’ve mostly been listening to the music, and walking around, and just taking in the smells and the traditional dress that people have brought,” Schleicher said. “That’s been really fun to see as well.”

You can test your strength at the Highland games or play a friendly game of bags (cornhole), and of course, finish up with a ride on the Ferris wheel to get the best view of the whole festival.

“I think it’s just a great way to see all that South Bend really is, that you might not see in one little corner, but a great place to bring people together,” Schleicher said. “A safe place to do that as well as to feel like families are welcome, and for people in wheelchairs, it’s very accessible. It’s been a lot of fun to be in this space.”

And if you missed it today, don’t worry; Fusion Festival opens at noon on Sunday for its final day.

There were fireworks scheduled to start at 9 p.m. Saturday, but the South Bend Police Department tells 16 News Now they were canceled “due to a group of kids fighting.” No injuries were reported.

The City of South Bend also issued a statement late Saturday night regarding the fireworks cancellation:

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