Germany will be celebrated this year as the Host Country of the 34th annual Ethnic Expo presented by First Financial Bank in downtown Columbus. The two-day festival, which fosters understanding and an appreciation of Columbus’ diverse population, will take place on October 13-14 outside Columbus City Hall.
Friends of Germany, will represent Germany at this year’s Ethnic Expo. As host country, the cultures and foods of Germany will be featured in the main booth of the festival village and will be celebrated in the Ethnic Expo parade.
Columbus and Bartholomew County have shared an extensive and common bond with Germany since the 1830's when a large group of German immigrants settled in Bartholomew County during the early stages of its development. During the last half of the 19th century, over 50% of the residents of Bartholomew County were of German ancestry and spoke German. Bringing their skills with them they quickly assimilated into and contributed much to the cultural, social, economic, religious and political fabric of Columbus and the Bartholomew County. The German immigrants built schools (as well as churches) including the longest continuously run school in our county. The educational emphasis continues through ongoing student exchanges between the Columbus high schools and those of our Sister City Löhne, Germany.
Germany is located in central Europe and is composed of the North German Plain, the Central German Uplands (Mittelgebirge), and the Southern German Highlands. The Celts are believed to have been the first inhabitants of Germany. Major rivers include the Danube, the Elbe, the Oder, the Weser, and the Rhine. Germany is approximately the size of Montana. Their industry consists of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools and electronics. Potatoes, wheat, barley, sugar beets and cattle make up their agriculture. Germany’s main exports are machinery, vehicles, chemicals, metals and manufactures, foodstuffs and textiles.
Ethnic Expo annually celebrates the traditions and customs of more than 30 countries with native residents who live in Columbus. The festival was founded in 1984 by a committee spearheaded by then-Mayor Bob Stewart’s wife, Barbara, to feature the city’s diverse ethnic heritage and to make the celebration a tool for understanding different cultures and customs. Approximately 35,000 people attend Ethnic Expo every year.
Ethnic Expo is organized by the City of Columbus and is made possible by generous donations from the presenting sponsor First Financial for the eighth year in a row, and other sponsors including Coca-Cola, Vectren Foundation, ERMCO Electric and Milestone. This activity is also made possible, in part, with support from the Indiana Arts Commission, the Columbus Area Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
“First Financial is proud to be a part of the Columbus community. We are honored to participate again in the annual Ethnic Expo, which focuses on gathering together to showcase our hometown's diverse culture and heritage.” said Al Roszczyk, Regional President for First Financial Bank. "First Financial is proud to be the title sponsor for the eighth year and our team looks forward to celebrating with the community this October.”
“Please join the City of Columbus in celebrating our bountiful cultures and heritages from around the world. “Prost” (Cheers in German) to Germany for serving as this year’s Host Country and we look forward to experiencing their customs and traditions,” said Mayor Jim Lienhoop.