The Tecumseh Park sign on August 23, 2014. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Festival of Nations returning to CK after 20 years

A celebration of Chatham-Kent’s culture is returning to the municipality for the first time in two decades.

The Festival of Nations will be revived this summer in Tecumseh Park and will coincide with the celebrations surrounding Canada Day.  The event previously ended in 1998 after a 13-year run that attracted thousands of local residents and those from outside of Chatham.

“We’re hoping to celebrate many cultures that make up the Chatham-Kent community and the goal really is to engage the community in the festivities that take place,” said Tracy Callaghan, the executive director at the Adult Language and Learning Centre and one of the co-chairs of the event.

While the exact details of the event have yet to be finalized, organizers said the original festival lasted several days, and featured food, entertainment as well as cultural displays from a number of nations.

“It may not be to the extent we had back 20 years ago [but we’re] looking at some of the cultural food vendors, bringing in some cultural activities and main stage entertainment, and then building towards that Canada Day celebration,” said Callaghan.

Callaghan, who chaired local Canada Day festivities in 2006-2008, said she remembers the festival from her past.

“The Festival of Nations really had a positive effect on the community,” she said. “A group of us thought that it would be really nice to resurrect that and bring back some of the culture that was involved with it.”

The group organizing the event is currently in the process of setting exact for the for the Festival of Nations and intends to issue a call for volunteers in the near future.