Nearly 100 vendors to be part of expanded CultureFest tonight, Saturday

Event expands to two days and adds more food trucks.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

SPRINGFIELD — CultureFest is taking new directions and shaking things up in 2023, expanding to two days, moving to a new location and welcoming more vendors than ever.

The annual celebration gathering several of the community’s cultures and showcasing diversity in one location will begin with a Friday night kickoff event from 6-8 p.m. today with live music and activities on the rooftop of the Park at the 99 Garage. CultureFest will be 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at National Road Commons Park, 50 W. Main St.

Admission to both events is free, and everyone is invited. CultureFest is presented by the city of Springfield with neighborhood and organizational partners.

Following expansion at last year’s event, Aaron Clark, CultureFest co-organizer with Jacqueline Downing, is even more excited for this year with the changes and interest, including nearly doubling the vendors.

“National Road Commons is a good location for us as it utilizes more of downtown, gives more parking and visibility and awareness from those traveling down Main Street,” he said. “It’s allowed us to expand and allows more vendors, better layout and staging so new food, merchandise, information and business vendors can participate.”

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Downing proposed the kickoff event as a way to add more entertainment and really begin the weekend early as a build-up to CultureFest. The Vinyl Vultures will perform at 6:15 p.m. and the Matt Clarkson Band at 7:15 p.m., along with tunes from DJ Swig.

There will also be activities including cornhole, inflatable bowling, giant Jenga, giant bucket toss and more along with a food cart.

“It’s a way to bring more of a socialized atmosphere, getting some unity and fellowship,” Clark said.

CultureFest will have 15-20 cultures sharing what makes them unique. There will also be 17 food trucks and roughly 96 vendors.

Live acts include six new entertainers and the variety will include music and dance performances in Latin, Mexican, hip-hop, funk, pop, soul and smooth jazz. Radio host Faith Daniels of WROU will be the main stage host.

Family fun will include the Cincinnati Circus, which will have a balloon artist and workshops on juggling and tightrope walking and others. The children’s area will also expand with potato sack races, face painting, games and more.

Clark said having more interest from people wanting to participate is a good sign, especially with the event theme.

“This is a learning experience in discovering these cultures and seeing the community come together in a family festival way, eating, hanging out and enjoying a day downtown. We need more of that in our city and the world,” said Clark.

How to go

What: CultureFest 2023

Where: National Road Commons Park, 50 W. Main St., Springfield

When: Kickoff event 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Park at 99 garage; CultureFest 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

Admission: free

More info:

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