Turkey Comes to Oak Park Ethnic Festival
Contributed by Zerrin Bulut
Saturday afternoons in May in Chicago. You might get a rainy day, or a gorgeous spring day on which to celebrate diversity! Diversity that the whole country should be celebrating, building those bridges to bring cultures and people together. We got the latter, as we celebrated the 37th Annual Ethnic Festival in Oak Park with pride by bringing the Turkish culture for the first time to the festival, thanks to the dedication and devotion of several Oak Park area families with Turkish roots.
The theme of this year’s festival, which is meant to both educate and entertain, was “Diversity is our strength,” so the addition of more countries and cultures seemed like the right thing to do, and we were delighted to introduce the Turkish culture alongside our kids at the daylong festival. We were also proud to share the message of Bridge to Turkey Fund, it’s mission and our link to children, as we collected donations for bracelets featuring the nazar. The kids raised $51 in donations, thanks to the donated efforts of Bridge to Turkey Fund chapter members who crafted the bracelets, created fabulous bags and those who were at the “Turkey table” at the Ethnic Fest representing both Turkey and Bridge to Turkey Fund so effortlessly.
From the music playing, to the images of Turkey on our screen, to the tuvla set to the Turkish images and words to learn from on the display boards, we are proud of it all. However, the Turkish hearts of all were filled with the most pride for seeing the next generation take part in the sharing of the heritage of their backgrounds, their country, and doing good at the same time.
Bravo kids, çok yaşa! Until next year.