HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) – A City of Huber Heights commission held a festival to celebrate different cultures in the community Saturday.
The Multi-Cultural Festival was the outcome of two years of work by a committee of people who are working to make Huber Heights a more inclusive place to live.
Organizers said hundreds of people stopped by the festival Saturday afternoon.
“It’s been awesome,” Huber Heights Culture & Diversity Citizen Action Commission Chair Yolanda Stephens said. “I mean, I’ve heard word that this has been the biggest festival that we’ve ever had in Huber Heights.”
The foundation for the festival started in 2020 when Stephens said knew she needed to take action after George Floyd was killed.
“I felt very I had a lot of emotions around that incident, and I knew I needed to do something positive with those emotions that I was feeling,” Stephens said. “So I went to the mayor of our city and we worked with the city manager and we came up with this commission.”
That conversation created the Huber Heights Culture & Diversity Citizen Action Commission. It formed to create inclusivity and equity for everyone in the city. The commission uses outreach, educational programs and events like the Multi-Cultural Festival to connect with the community.
“We’ve never had anything multicultural, to be honest, in our diversity is growing in our community, and so we want to be able to bring all of us together in celebration of one another,” Stephens said.
The festival wrapped up the commission’s Culture Week, which kicked off with a Juneteenth Music Festival on Sunday, June 19.
The goal of Saturday’s event was to bring the community together to celebrate other cultures.
A lot of people come to multicultural festivals because they want food, but what else are we supposed to find when we’re here? We’re supposed to find each other,” actress Leah Renee-K, who presented a speech and poem at the festival, said. “I really felt that my speech was already in action. People were really connecting with each other. I felt true diversity and peace here was awesome.”
Around 30 vendors set up at the festival. The business owners said the turnout and support was incredible.
“Huber Heights is a melting pot and it’s wonderful that we can put stuff together like this and everybody can know that, you know, there is still some peace in this world and we can’t get together and all still have some fun and enjoy each other,” Serenity Wilson with Renny’s Henny Wings and Desserts said.
The commission holds quarterly community outreach and education events, with the next one planned for October.
The commission is also already looking ahead to holding the multi-cultural festival again next year.