By Maranda Bailo
When we say Cleveland has a little bit of everything, that includes its people. From our suburbs, to our neighborhoods, to our restaurants -- it's obvious that diversity is our specialty and the people are our proof.
The 77th annual One World Day, made possible by The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Foundation, is a chance for people to come together and collectively recognize our rich and unique cultural heritage. With almost 120 ethnicities in Cleveland, there’s certainly a lot of diversity to celebrate.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens are a collection of 33 public gardens in Rockefeller Park, located along East Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., that represent the many ethnic backgrounds of the immigrants that made significant contributions to Cleveland and our country. The first garden was established in 1916.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Foundation, (CCGF) is a group of volunteers who created and maintain the gardens. They established the Gardens’ theme, “Peace through mutual understanding,” to showcase that Cleveland’s diversity can lead to peaceful coexistence.
The always joyous Parade of Flags kick offs at noon and will march down East Boulevard and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to the Gardens. At the conclusion of the parade, a Naturalization Ceremony will be held to welcome recent immigrants becoming American Citizens. From there practice your folk dancing, engage in activities for the kids in the Children's Village, enjoy live music and other cultural performances, and indulge in some delicious international dishes from ethnic groups represented in the Cultural Gardens (perhaps accompanied by a stop in the not to be overlooked Beer Garden).
One World Day is free to attend and open to the public. Free parking is available at the Metroparks Parking Lot on the North end and VA Employee Parking Lot to the South, with four shuttle buses that will loop from the VA parking lot to the event area (The Metroparks Lot is only a short walk). Please be advised that MLK and East Blvd will be closed for ongoing traffic from 7:00 a.m. until midnight.