Cultural Festival exhibits the influential cultures of Portage County


The Mirror reporter

The Portage County Cultural Festival is a one-day annual festival that attracts approximately 10,000 people of all ages and cultural backgrounds to Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH).

There were plenty of things to go around whether it was eating the one-dollar samplers from different food vendors, watching cultural performances, taking language lessons, buying and or making native crafts, or visiting different stations to learn about the various cultures represented.

This year the cultural festival brought back the very popular WABA! (Wildy-Amazing Bite-Sized Appetizers) from around the world, for just one dollar each. This program lets guests try sampler items from stations that chose to participate. It was a great way for people to try food from many different stations at very little cost. This was a great program, as people tend to avoid trying something new if it is a full dish for fear they won’t like it and may waste money.

There were six performance areas for various acts to highlight their represented culture. All but one of the stages’ sound equipment came from Soundworks Systems Inc. and were run by SPASH’s Stage Crew who provided their own equipment for the last stage. Performances ranged from puppet shows, dances, to playing live music. The acts came from countries as diverse as India to Canada, proving that this festival really brings in a wide range of cultures.

Student Brendan Bostic said, “I think all the dances I saw had a very good interpretation of their culture and getting to see how it was portrayed to others was a really neat experience.”

Another authentically unique feature of the festival was using some of the school’s classrooms for people to learn a little bit of a new language! This was a marvelous feature as it provided guests the opportunity to learn some of the native languages of select cultures.

Booths from various cultures were set up around the fest to showcase native crafts, clothing, toys, and instruments. Each station had amazing representatives who were always eager to share more about their culture. There was also an area where kids could make crafts to take home with them. It was a neat experience to see how happy they were after they made their select craft.

Student volunteer Peyton Kowalski said, “I love going to the Cultural Fest! It is a time when everyone stops all of the hate and discrimination and appreciates all of our differences. Our city is able to witness the wonder and beauty of the diverse cultures in Portage County. I always help with the kid’s section of Culture Fest and help with the crafts. The kids get so excited and love every single minute of it. I think my favorite part of Culture Fest is walking under all of the flags in the hall in the morning. Volunteers have to be at SPASH at around 8 a.m. I love walking around the empty halls and looking at all of the different flags of the different countries.”

This festival is one of the greatest ways to learn a ton of information on the local cultures within Portage County.