The Cleveland Cultural Gardens will host the 76th Annual One World Day (OWD) this Sunday, Aug. 28, to celebrate and honor Cleveland’s diverse cultural and ethnic makeup representing more than 30 countries around the world.
“We’re expecting a similar crowd to last year, so around 20,000 people,” says Johnny Wu, producer of OWD. “While COVID restrictions are lifted, we’re doing our best to keep everyone safe.”
To start the day, every cultural garden marches in the Parade of Flags. An essential part of the event, garden representatives carry their respective flags and march from the Serbian Garden to the Croatian Garden.
Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu will lead this year's Parade of Flags as the grand marshal. Moceanu is a member of the Magnificent Seven—at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, she was a member of the first American Olympic women’s gymnastics team to win gold and, at age 14, she was the youngest gymnast to ever win Olympic Gold.
Since her gymnastics career, she has become a New York Times bestselling author and opened the Moceanu Gymnastics Center in Medina. Proud of her Romanian heritage, she has embraced the diversity and acceptance One World Day stands for.
“Dominique graciously agreed to be a part of One World Day this year,” says Wu. “She’s excited to celebrate her Romanian heritage.”
OWD is particularly special in the Ukrainian Garden this year, which will march first in the Parade of Flags. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in January, many local suburbs have proudly displayed Ukrainian flags in front of their homes. While nothing formal has been released yet, the Ukrainian Garden is planning a special event to commemorate recent hardships Ukraine has faced.
At 11 a.m. a Naturalization Ceremony will welcome 25 new citizens to the United States. An appointed judge will grant each person their citizenship.
Following the ceremony, attendees can visit the cultural gardens for an authentic meal or head to the Centennial Peace Plaza for a lineup of dance, music, and other artistic performances starting at 1:30 p.m.
Cleveland’s Bossa Nova King, Moises Borges, will give the final performance of the day. A Brazilian-born singer and guitarist, Borges nurtured his own musical talents to become a world-renown musician and composer and is currently based in Cleveland.
Representatives from the African American Garden, Vietnamese Garden and the upcoming Pakistani Garden will be serving food native to their countries and cultures. To see what each Garden is serving, check out the vendor list here. Food trucks also will be at different stops throughout the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.
Rather drink your calories? The German and Irish Cultural Gardens will each host beer gardens this year, serving different beers and lagers from their respective countries.
There’s plenty for kids to enjoy, too. At the Children’s Village, kids ages five to 10 can make upcycled bookmarks, play lawn games, and learn about Cleveland’s diverse culture through different stories.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens span 250 acres, and buses will circle the grounds, free of charge, to ensure visitors experience every part of OWD. Additionally, SPIN scooters will be available for guests and volunteers will offer golf cart rides at no additional charge.
Free parking will be available at the VA Parking Lot downtown. Three school buses will bring guests to the and from the gardens for free. For more information and to view a complete event schedule, click here. To join the celebration, head to 10823 Magnolia Drive on Sunday, Aug. 28 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Dana Shugrue is a graduate of John Carroll University, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Media and Professional Writing. She is a full-time Content Specialist at Budget Dumpster, and part-time freelance writer for FreshWater Cleveland. When she’s not writing, you can catch Dana taking a run through the metros or sipping a latte at her favorite local coffee shop.