September 9, 2023
Today, the City of South Bend held a press conference at Howard Park to kick-off the 2-day Fusion Fest weekend. Fusion Fest is a re-imagination of South Bend’s Ethnic Festival, which originated in South Bend in 1974 and was celebrated for nearly 30 years. The festival remains one of the most well-attended and loved events in the region.
“I am excited to revive and reimagine this vibrant festival in celebration of our diverse cultural backgrounds in the South Bend region,” said Mayor James Mueller. “The City team looks forward to bringing our community together for a fun-filled, 2-day weekend with food, music, and activities for all.”
Fusion Fest will be filled with over 100 food vendors, artisans, performers, and demonstrations on 5 different regional stages, and several different hands-on activities and experiences, such as:
- Around the World Car Show
- Daily Tous les Jours “Food Sessions”
- Dragon Boat Rides
- Face Painting and Henna Tattoo options
- Ferris Wheel
- Fireworks show
- Heavy Athletics Highland Games
- Movie Marathon
- Potawatomi Zoo Interactive Experience
- Refugees to Neighbors Exhibit
- St. Joseph County Public Library Genealogy exhibit
The festival will take place at Howard Park and surrounding streets and will be separated into global regions with stages and vendors located at each corresponding region: North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia/Australia. Patrons are encouraged to bring camp chairs to enjoy the concerts, but coolers and large bags are not allowed. Clear backpacks are allowed.
“We are excited to celebrate the return of happy faces filling the streets and welcome all to experience the re-imagination of South Bend’s Ethnic Festival by attending the two-day festivities,” said Acting Venues Parks & Arts Director, Jordan Gathers. “You will leave feeling energized and inspired, so don’t forget to spread the word, bring your loved ones, and join us for unforgettable experience.”
The South Bend Police Department will have an increased presence during the two-day festival to ensure safety, as well as strategic locations. Per requests from the event sponsors, no weapons of any kind will be allowed onto the festival grounds and security workers will utilize magnetometers at entrances. All bags are subject to search. Guests will not be permitted to stay in the park after the conclusion of the festival each night.
“We want everyone to enjoy themselves, but above all, we need everyone to be safe,” said Chief of Police Scott Ruszkowski. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for violence, weapons, and drugs at the Fusion Fest. We don’t want to see the actions of a few spoiling the fun for everyone.”
Event parking is available at the Wayne Street Grage, Crowe Lot, St. Joseph High School Lot, Ever wise Credit Union lot on Jefferson Blvd., First Unitarian Church of South Bend, and the School Field Lot. Parking is also available on the streets within walking distance of Howard Park. ADA-accessible parking is available at the Zion Church Lot. Please be aware that Jefferson and St. Louis Blvd. will be closed the week leading up to the festival. No public parking is permitted in the Primary Care Partners of South Bend Lot. Vehicles will be at risk of being towed. For more information on specific street and road closures, please visit the information section on sbfusionfest.com.
For more information on Fusion Fest, its history, stage and experience schedules, list of vendors and artisans, and to register for the immersive tasting experience and dragon boat ride, please visit sbfusionfest.com.