Voorhees and Camden County have a wealth of people, all with different backgrounds. On Saturday, Oct. 11, Voorhees will be hosting a day to celebrate and learn about each other’s differences at the Annual International Day at Eastern Regional High School from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Hosted by the Voorhees Cultural and Diversity Committee and the Voorhees Cultural and Diversity Foundation, the event is sponsored by the Camden County Board of Freeholders, the Voorhees Township Cultural and Diversity Committee, the Voorhees Cultural and Diversity Foundation and the Camden County Human Relations Commission.
The event is a free day for family fun and will include food, entertainment and information from different organizations and backgrounds.
“On this day, we celebrate both our differences and our solidarity in an event filled with pageantry, entertainment and delicious food. The event has been organized to promote understanding, acceptance and appreciation of each other’s ethnic backgrounds,” said Stella Sytnik, president and CEO of the Voorhees Cultural and Diversity Foundation.
The event is attended by township and county elected officials and a guest of honor, as well as a vibrant community of about 3,000 people. The event is open to everyone, not just Voorhees residents.
“You don’t have to live in Voorhees or Camden County, you can come from anywhere and spend the day,” said Stephanie Fisher, a member of the 2014 International Day executive committee, VCDC chairperson and county liaison for Camden County Human Relations Commission. “You’d be surprised about the people that come from all over. There is nothing like this where they live.”
The program begins with a Parade of Nations with 25 countries’ representatives all showing their national flags, followed by a parade of people in the traditional dress of their respective countries. Mayor Mike Mignogna will welcome everyone with a speech, and a group of children will lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approximately 80 vendors including local businesses, educational institutions and restaurants will be handing out information and featuring ethnic food, all of which is free. Cultural performances include Chinese dance, Russian ballroom dance and Russian singers, an Indian dance, a Philippine bamboo dance, a Japanese and Moroccan dance and an African American jazz song, as well as Turkish, Vietnamese and other songs and entertainment.
“Every year there is more and more,” Fisher said.
This year will have something a little different than what attendees from previous years might be used to. According to Fisher, last year, surveys were handed out at the end of the day asking how they can improve International Day. A lot of those who completed the survey asked that vendors be put inside where the entertainment is because they and those visiting the vendors want to watch and enjoy the performances as well.
After all the performances, a light meal will be served featuring food from local restaurants and cultural societies as well as refreshments such as soda, water and juice. A combination of cafeteria workers and volunteers, including about 50 to 75 students, will help with the serving.
“Hopefully, it will be a good day. It’s a free event, a family day as well as a day to meet new people,” Fisher said.
For more information about International Day, please go to the Voorhees Cultural and Diversity Foundation website at www.vcdfoundation.com, its Facebook at “Voorhees Cultural and Diversity Foundation,” or call its main line at (609) 878–8703. You can also contact Chairwoman Gwen DeVera at (856) 751- 1364 or at email@example.com. Additional information can be found at www.camdencounty.com or www.voorheesnj.com.