Southsider Voice correspondent
A new summer event on the Southside is on its way to becoming a tradition as the first Perry Cultural Festival took place Saturday. A variety of songs, dances and other forms of entertainment were performed by different ethnicities at Baxter YMCA.
“We were very pleased with the results even before the day started,” said JoEllen Buffie, who co-chaired the event. “That is because we gathered so many different people to become aware of celebrating diversity in Perry Township. So many people are wanting to do that and wanting to be on board. That’s a celebration in itself.”
Ethnicities included German-European, Chin, African-American, and Hispanic. A featured event was a soccer tournament, in which teams from Chin churches participated and gained exposure via a Chin television channel. Organizers intend to expand the tourney next year to include other ethnic groups. Due to the deadline for registering, some teams were left out.
“The second time around is always easier,” said Joan Miller, another organizer and president of the Greater Southside Business Alliance. “Next year, all of the forms and stuff we developed for this year we can use. We don’t have to invent new.”
The festival benefited from sponsorships by St. Francis Hospital, the University of Indianapolis and other businesses.
Miller and the rest of the volunteers were thankful for the good weather and for the Y hosting the event.
“The Baxter Y has been interested in the change of Perry Township for a long time and so has the GSBA,” Miller said. “We’re both in the business of serving our community and constituents if you want to call them that. And to really serve our institutions you really have to talk about diversity.”