About Us

OUR MISSION: To celebrate the people and the many cultures that make Central Florida awesome.

WHAT WE DO: We organize weekly and monthly, both virtual and in-person, events that keep the community engaged and connected to the cultural diversity in Central Florida. We participate in parades and create dining experiences and workshops from January to November. Our signature event on Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving Day in Downtown Orlando is a free, two-day, festival that draws people from more than 110 different cultures to experience music, dance, food, visual arts, spoken word, games and interactive activities.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Keep an eye on our social media and website to join in one (or several) of the Diversitastic! Dining Experiencesthe Flag Crew in parades, workshops, webinars and to perform at the Thanksgiving Weekend festival

WHEN IS THE FREE FESTIVAL: Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving Day – November 27 & 28, 2021.

FESTIVAL HOURS: Saturday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. & Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

WHAT WILL YOU FIND AT THE FESTIVAL:

  • Opening Spectacle
  • International Food Court & Marketplace
  • Stages featuring music, dance, spoken word and fashion
  • Film Station screening the MYgration Films in partnership with Global Peace Film Festival
  • Global Street Dance Party
  • Diversitastic! Choir
  • Interactive Experiences
  • Visual Arts Gallery
  • Celebrations & Faiths Station
  • Kids Village
  • Exciting Prizes
  • Community Panels
  • Fusion Contests with cash awards

WHERE: At the Seneff Arts Plaza at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Orlando.

WHO IS BEHIND IT: FusionFest is a non-profit organization with support from Orange County Government. Since 2016 a Steering Committee of 40 members with heritages from around the globe meets monthly to shape the project.

SPELLING: FusionFest is one-word with two capital Fs.

HASHTAGS: #FusionFest #FusionFestOrlando #ICanBeMeHere #ProudToShowMyColors

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook.com/FusionFestOrlando & Instagram.com/FusionFestOrlando

COVID-19 PROTOCOL: FusionFest.org/safety

Our Story

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.

FusionFest was recognized as a project that positively impacts the community and received the Award of Excellence at the Golden Brick Awards hosted by the Downtown Orlando Partnership, and won 1st place in “Community Outreach Program” from the Florida Festivals and Events Association.

Under the fiscal sponsorship of the Downtown Arts District and support from Orange County Government, the Orlando Downtown Development Board, the Dr. Phillips Center of Performing Arts, and a growing grassroots movement, FusionFest continues to advance and celebrate diversity, inclusion and collaboration in Central Florida.