Celebrating differences and our common values
By Cory Sekine-Pettite
According to County officials, Cobb’s population has grown about 10 percent over the last decade, and it continues to become more diverse. To celebrate Cobb’s progression and to recognize its blossoming diversity, the county is launching an annual International Festival, which kicks off this August at Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta.
On Saturday, August 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the inaugural Cobb County International Festival will feature a wide variety of local and international music and art, eclectic dancing, delicious culinary options, imaginative crafts, beautiful jewelry, a kids’ corner, and many other vendors — about 100 vendors in all, officials say. It also will give local businesses the chance to foster economic growth.
“Research shows that cultural celebrations foster respect and open-mindedness for other cultures. Understanding people and their backgrounds is vital to personal and community growth,” county officials said in announcing the festival.
“Since serving as commissioner, I have learned a lot about how diverse Cobb is and how many people of different cultural backgrounds call our community home,” Cobb Commissioner (District 4) Lisa N. Cupid told Cobb In Focus. “Yet persons and even business of varying nationalities too often seem isolated and less connected to the county. A cultural event provides opportunity to recognize the presence of the various groups that make up Cobb County and showcase the strength and value that they bring to Cobb in exposing us to varying cultures, different perspectives, and even economic opportunities that exist when we purposefully connect to each other.
“More personally, an event like this is special to me as both my parents are West Indian, and my children were part of a Mandarin Immersion Program and still study the language,” Cupid continued. “My family participates in many cultural events and feel connected to communities so much larger than ourselves when we attend. I also have many constituents, friends, and colleagues of varying nationalities and see their interests [in getting involved] in the county — whether through reaching out for services or through them seeing value in serving our county-at-large. They are educated, qualified, and resourced and also care about their homes, families, communities, professions, and businesses as much as anyone else. Although many have been a part of Cobb for generations, an event like this still helps roll out the welcome mat and say, ‘We see you and we value your presence and contribution to our County.’”
Cupid, Parks staff, and other county employees have been planning the Cobb County International Festival for more than a year, and they intend for it to grow each year and expand beyond this year’s current offering. But this year’s event certainly isn’t lacking in options and activities.
Countries from around the world will be represented at this family-friendly event. Jim R. Miller Park’s state-of-the-art event center is located at 2245 Callaway Road in Marietta and can accommodate more than 3,600 people inside the 30,00-square-foot facility. There also is room for 2,500 more people on the plaza, midway, and kids’ corner. Don’t worry: There will be plenty of parking at the Fair Grounds.
So, join your neighbors on Saturday, August 3 for an unforgettable celebration. More information on the festival is available at CobbInternationalFest.com. And remember, this event will only be successful with our participation.
“Cobb’s diversity creates opportunity for us to grow in how we care and treat others in our community, while enabling us to leverage the strength that comes through broad social and economic integration of all members of our community,” Cupid said.