Ethnic Expo gives chance to learn about other cultures

One of the special characteristics of Columbus is that it is a melting pot of cultures and has been for more than three decades. A snapshot of the city’s diversity is seen each year with the presentation of Ethnic Expo, one of the area’s most popular festivals.

Ethnic Expo, presented annually since 1984 and this year again by First Financial Bank, typically attracts about 30,000 people for its two-day run, according to organizers. The 33rd Expo, hosted by China and Taiwan, runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and concludes from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday following the 9 p.m. fireworks show, with almost all events in the vicinity of City Hall at First and Washington streets in downtown Columbus.

People who have been to Ethnic Expo understand its attraction — the opportunity to get a taste of different cultures in food, music and entertainment. For others who have not attended Ethnic Expo, this is a perfect opportunity to experience something new.

Food from countries around the world has become the most popular attraction, and this year the 31 international food booths include tasty items representing three new countries: Cameroon, Ethiopia and Venezuela. Also, Thailand is a new addition to the 11 international bazaar booths, offering clothing, jewelry and other goods for sale.

Also new this year is an opportunity for children to learn about world languages — an offering by Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. from 5:30 to 7 p.m. today.

Music and entertainment representing different cultures is planned each day, including a Russian song and dance ensemble and an Afro-Latin music band as the two headliners.

And, of course, the always-popular parade kicks off the second day at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Columbus has many cultures to celebrate and does so in a fun and entertaining way with Ethnic Expo. It’s worth the time to check out and learn a little bit more about the many traditions represented among the community’s residents.