By December 3, 2020December 12th, 2020newsroom

FusionFest encourages creativity and innovation through contests for participants who will fuse elements from different cultures into a new and exciting original. Music, dance, fashion, spoken word, visual arts, film and food all offer up to $1,000 prizes. Each area is judged by a different diverse panel of judges.

Karluca Prieto & Lori Turchin (photo: LL Productions)

The awards given at the 2020 FusionFest are:


Slam Poetry & Haikus

Sponsor: The Bob Allen Family Foundation

Curator: Shawn Welcome

Judges: Dina Arouri, Claudia Atkins-Martin, Johnathan Iverson, Eddie Oliphant, Pimpuang Parpart, Shonda Lynn Thurman

  • $500 Slam Poet (Saturday): Eddie Figueroa with a poem entitled “Scratching the Sound of History”
  • $500 Slam Poet (Sunday): Charles Hines with a poem entitled “Ariana Grande Syndrome”

Haiku Curator: Ray Jimenez

  • $50 Haiku Winner (Saturday): Audi Barnes


the sun on my face

never feels as good as when

I take off my mask.

  • $50 Haiku Winner (Sunday): Dennis Amadeus


I write poetry 

In the same way that I live 

My life, with a point.


Curator: Paula Wyatt

Judges: Devinder, Starr Dalton, Elias Faddoul, Ha’Ani Hogan, Nicole Smith, Nadege Wilson

  • $1,000 Winner: Aleksandra Vargas
  • Special Mention: Annada Vergo
    • The only participant who has been part of all three FusionFest Design competitions. Annada is an 11-year-old designer with a love of history and a passion for social justice. She uses art and fashion to celebrate courage and love. Fashion is a way Annada expresses herself. She likes to highlight the beautiful differences in cultures in ways that also embrace our common humanity.

MYgration Films

Sponsor: OUC

Curator: Lori Turchin of Global Peace Film Festival

Judges: Mimi Chan, Miguel DelaRosa, Disco San Andreas, Randy Baker, Aubrie Canfield, Scott Goldberg, Jason Gregory, Sandor Kaziev, Jim Martin, Debbie Mitchell, Craig Richards

  • $1,000 Winner: Karluca Prieto’s film about Ola Bello in Nigerian Flavors
  • $200 Student Winner: LaMont Chaney II’s film about Beatriz Andrekovich in Beatriz Andrekovish – A Cultural Fusion
  • $100 Audience Choice:  Rhys Lynn’s film about Boris Garbe in Spit Glitter & Glue

Watch the 2020 MYgration Films program on our YouTube Channel.


Curator: Maria Mancia-Vayo

The contest was held November 17 at the Winter Park Publix Aprons Cooking School.

Judges: Tyler Brassil, Tracy Kuch, Kendra Lott

  • $1,000 winner: Ryan Manning – of MX Taco combined Germany and Mexico by using pasilla chile Sauerbraten, apple hominy and poblano braised red cabbage, tortilla crumble, mustard sauce and mole sauces.
  • 2nd Place Winner, $300 Gift Basket from Ancient Olive: Venoy Rogers, Executive Chef of B Resort & Spa American Kitchen Bar & Grill, fused Japanese and North American cuisines by creating “Mac a Uni & Cheese” a Uni Fondue with Vermont Cheddar, corkscrew rice noodles, secret sushi rice seasoning, toasted chicharron and Furikake.
  • 3rd Place Winner: Arun & Bhava Mooljee, owners and chefs of Café Vecino in Maitland. They combined ingredients from India, Zimbabwe and the United States to a create a dish they called the “Indo-Zimbo Combo —Made in America”, composed of American sweet corn curried and infused with herbs and spice, Zinbabwean Tsunga (kale), Piri Piri Butter Chicken, African style chicken in Indian spices, Indian baby eggplant stuffed with chickpea flour, and street taco flour tortillas deep fried into Punjabi Batura.

Gift Card Partners: Ancient Olive, Bao’s Castle, Denny Tornatore Pizzeria, George’s Cafe in Winter Park, Glitzfully, Jessica Braun Massage Therapist, Qreate Coffee + Studio, Otus Coffee Company, Publix, Puff ‘n Stuff Catering, Rock & Brews Oviedo and Something’s Brewing Florida

Visual Arts

Curator: Kat Quast & CityArts Orlando

Judges: Alberto Gomez, Mar Martinez, Jacoub Reyes

  • $1,000 prize winner: Lynda Kusuma who entered four pieces of mixed media


Sponsor: Massey Services

Curator: Chris Belt

Judges: Sam Desmet, Eturn, Nathi Gcabashe, Benoit Glazer, Christopher Marshall, Nandkishor Muley, Beatriz Ramirez, Dimas Sanchez, Ayako Yonetani

  • $1,000 winner: Don Soledad (Flamenco) a medley of songs from Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Spain


Sponsor: OUC

Curator: Teresa Borker

Judges: Margo Blake, Julie Coleman, Linda Gallegos, Pat Henderson, Ann Robinson, DJ Salisbury

  • $1,000 Winner: Fantashique, from Winter Garden, under the direction of Royce Reed, fused dance from Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad with North American Jazz
  • 2nd Place, $300 Award: NuLook Dance Emporium from Pine Hills, under the direction of Carol Cudjoe, presented an entry entitled “The Hanging Tree”, fusing traditional African dance with contemporary social issues from the United States.
  • 3rd Place, $200 Award: Central Florida Irish Dance, from Celebration, under the direction of Sarah Costello, fused dance styles from Ireland with Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
  • 4th Place, $100: ESOR Dance Ensemble, under the direction of Sandra Rose, fused dance styles from Jamaica with China and India.


  • $300 Super Prize Raffle: Michelle Klopf
  • 145 VIP Passport prizes given, each worth from $10 to $300 totaling $3,500 in value.
  • VIP Passports were available for sale for $25 and to donors and included four food tokens, a super prize raffle ticket, a prize coupon, and a souvenir button.

Photos by LL Productions

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