NORWICH — Even though the pandemic has put a lot of things on hold, maybe it’s time for a popular event to return.
This year, Global City Norwich will resume hosting the various cultural festivals on Franklin Street every May to September, said Global City Norwich Liaison Officer Suki Lagrito. However, further details on the return of cultural festivals are being worked out for the next four to six weeks.
The street festivals, launched in 2018, had the Franklin Square section of Franklin Street jammed as attendees enjoyed food, music, dance and more from the featured culture. Some of the cultures featured in these festivals include Haitian, Dominican, Peruvian, Polish, and Cape Verdean culture.
Lagrito said she expects the festival to be able to attract pre-pandemic kind of crowds, which could top 1,000 in attendance.
“The community has strengthened a lot of bonds since we started, so I think the festivals will grow and increase, not only with people attending the festivals, but also in community engagement,” Lagrito said.
Additionally, Kevin Brown, chairman of the Norwich Community Development Corporation, said the events focus on what he calls “faces, places and spaces”, in terms of giving the community a social outlet. . Brown also said the events have a reputation for building cross-cultural connections.
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“These types of events help break down barriers between different minority groups and groups in the city, and help us work better together as people,” Brown said.
In turn, Brown said the events reduce the barrier of entry into business for people in the communities served by Global City Norwich events.
“You open doors,” Brown said. “You give them the opportunity to access the kinds of economic development programs that NCDC is designed to provide.”
This also includes the work lab program, which is being developed and will include outreach activities and a learning environment for Foundry 66 entrepreneurs from the same communities that Global City Norwich caters to.
“We take hopeful business owners and entrepreneurs and teach them how to market their business, how to be fiscally responsible with their business, and how to grow their business,” Brown said.
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Lagrito said it was important to keep the festivals going because of Norwich’s diversity. Lagrito said that if people were asked where they are from and where their families are from, there would be many different answers.
“When we have festivals, what we do is honor and celebrate the people who live here and who they are,” Lagrito said.
It’s also about giving people a good time, as Lagrito said “everyone loves dancing and music”.
“Why wouldn’t we want to go somewhere and see people smiling and kids and grandparents and everyone sharing those special moments and memories,” Lagrito said.