Sterling Heights

Application window open for Cultural Exchange in Sterling Heights

The annual Sterling Heights Cultural Exchange has become a time-honored tradition in the city. Now in its 23rd year, the event honors the diverse backgrounds of its residents, business owners, and community at large. 

Last year’s event, for instance, featured children from St. Mary's Macedonian Church performing a traditional Tanec dance, readings from the Marium Quran Academy, and performances from the Sunshine Chinese Dance academy. Cultural displays, fashion, and artwork were featured throughout. And then, of course, there was the food, including baklava from Farhat Sweets, pastries from Mannino’s Bakery, and more.

In 2020, it just so happened that the Cultural Exchange occurred a couple weeks prior to Governor Whitmer’s COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. So it’s perhaps fitting then that the annual event is back in 2021 as part of the Break-Free Blast, a series of events that should bring a reassuring sense of relative normalcy back to the community as vaccinations become more prevalent and the warm weather allows for more and more outdoor gatherings.

The 2021 Sterling Heights Cultural Exchange is scheduled for Friday, June 18, from 6 to 10 p.m. under the Dodge Park Farmers Market Pavilion.

“The evening is really a great chance for people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds to celebrate their similarities more than their differences,” says Carmen Williams, chair of the Sterling Heights Ethnic Community Committee, the group sponsoring the event.

“We are looking forward to participation from the many nationalities in Sterling Heights and surrounding areas.”

Organizers have put out the call seeking businesses to sponsor the event, culturally-related organizations interested in having a display table, and dance troupes and entertainment groups interested in performing. Interested parties can call the city at (586) 446-2473 or download the application form online. The deadline for applications is Monday, May 31.

The event is free and open to the public. Due to COVID-19, safety protocols and precautions have been put in place and guests must register in advance for admittance, information of which is available online.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.