Roots Aurora Festival Seeks Cultural Champions

Jul 31, 2019 | Press Release

FROM:  Aurora Historical Society- Mary Clark Ormond
DATE:  July 31, 2019RE:  Roots Aurora Festival Cultural Champions

Roots Aurora, the annual festival of ethnic cultures, is seeking individuals to be honored as Cultural Champions at the September 6 event.

Nominees should have demonstrated effectiveness in preserving the history and traditions of their ethnic group, passing them along to younger generations, and sharing them with all people of every background, especially within the city of Aurora. 

Examples of cultural preservation would include the teaching of language, the performance of music and dance, the development of culinary and artistic skills, and writing about ethnic traditions or history. 

2018 Cultural Champion Ed Scheining displays Aurora mascot Andy Aurora before receiving the award for his preservation of German culinary heritage through his business, the sausage shop Wurst Kitchen on Union Street.

The festival, featuring food, entertainment and a youth talent show, will be held on Friday, September 6, 2019, at the Water Street Mall in downtown Aurora, from 5pm-9pm.  The date coincides with First Fridays events downtown and is free.  

Previous honorees are:   African American – Anthony Stanford, William Bigham, Onwa Olieh and Ricky Rodgers;  France – Josette Smith;  Germany – Ed Schleining;  Greece – Eva and Michael Kontos and Penny Panayiota Deligiannis.

Also:  Puerto Rico – Mirna Lopez-Freitag and Emilio Berrios;  Mexico – Maria Lozano, Jesus Sanchez and Gonzalo Arroyo; Panama – Rene Cruz;  Tejano – Arturo Velasquez and Alejandro Benavides.   

Other honorees are:  Ireland – Dan Dolan; Italy – Anthony J. Prisco and Guy Prisco;  Jewish – Marilyn Katz; Luxembourg – James Michels, David Frieders, and the American Luxemburger Independent Club;  Romania – Viola Moldovan;  India – Krishna Bansal and Prakasam Tata;  All nations (research) – Michael Fichtel.

More information about Roots Aurora and nomination guidelines are online at

Nominations can be emailed to or mailed to the Aurora Historical Society at P.O. Box 905, Aurora, IL  60507.  They are due by August 20. 

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