It all began when Sam Roberts of the Caribbean American Passport and Yves Bouele of the African Leaders Council approached Terry Olson about creating some kind of international event. While there are dozens of festivals centered around one heritage or another in our community, we thought, What if we all came together at the same time?
In November of 2016, about 40 people from various heritages gathered to brainstorm the best way to share our heritages. In the following month, a Steering Committeebegan to take shape and has been meeting monthly ever since.
Some of the early stepping stones to the festival were bimonthly “Gathering of Nations” events with a few people from every heritage we could find in Central Florida (currently we have more than 140 heritages identified). Each of the Gatherings was focused on a particular aspect of culture ̶ Food, Dance, Music, Clothing, Games, Literature. These explorations helped us envision what a “fusion” festival would look like – a place where we honored our heritages while celebrating how we influence each other as we shape our own unique identity as Central Floridians.