LIMA — After making plans to hold an international expo at the Apollo Career Center, organizers had to move swiftly to find a new place when construction to remodel and expand the school began months earlier than expected.
The Lima-Allen County Neighborhoods in Partnership ninth annual International Expo centers on “Cultural Threads,” which weaves the different nationalities on this planet together so they can be put on display. The event, scheduled to be held from 1 to 5 p.m. March 30 at Lima Senior High School, showcases ethnic clothes, displays, dances, music, crafts and foods.
Event chair Connie Hornung said people may be surprised at the diversity of nationalities living in the Lima area and this event gives them a chance to experience where their neighbors, friends and co-workers may have been raised or the clothing, food and traditions their own ancestors experienced.
“Our theme this year is ‘cultural threads,’ which was picked up from last year when Meg Dickason, a local artist and weaver who has lived in 40 or 50 countries and has traveled to 60 or 70 countries and who buys different ethnic clothes from all these different countries as well as covers, blankets and fabrics, put her stuff on display,” Hornung said. “We said look at all the cultural threads that we have in common, the threads and fabrics and tapestries that we are interwoven between us.
“We are all woven together on this planet,” she added. “There is all sorts of hate and intolerance and what a nice thing to share our commonalities, our similarities and just the traditions and joy of just meeting other people and how similar we really are.”
Hornung said she enjoys watching people of all ages come to the free event and learn about cultures from around the globe.
“There are a lot of families who have never been out of the area at all,” Hornung said. “So if you don’t get to travel the world, we are able to bring the world to you for at least one afternoon.”
With advances in communication and travel, she feels it is beneficial to experience the traditions, language and culture of different places as Americans take jobs in many different countries or where American companies are conducting business in many nations abroad.
“I think it is really cool that our planet has gotten so much smaller because these people have moved to Lima,” Hornung said. “This is a celebration. We used to do it as a fundraiser, but LACNIP wanted to do it as a free event for families to discover the diversity of the area.”
She said the event was supposed to be held at the Apollo Career Center, who secured state funds to remodel and expand the joint vocational center. Construction was supposed to begin in June, but they were able to begin the project earlier with some construction beginning the same weekend as the international event.