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    Lake Forest will host its first multicultural event next year
    • October 26, 2023

    Plans are underway in Lake Forest for an inaugural multicultural event that is slated to take place in the spring.

    The City Council allocated $10,000 for the event during its Oct. 17 meeting, with plans for it to blossom into a yearly tradition for Lake Forest, councilmembers said.

    While specifics about the type of event have not been finalized, some ideas floated during the City Council meeting included a Lunar New Year celebration, fundraisers or a general multicultural celebration that would include many backgrounds.

    “We are a city that is growing, and I do think that we should celebrate the cultural differences we have to bring people together,” said Councilmember Scott Voigts.

    The council voted 4-0 to establish an event — Mayor Doug Cirbo was absent — following a presentation from Nicole Houston, the city’s management analyst. The city has conducted research since June, she said, to determine a budget, one that could be expanded on if needed.

    City officials looked at Buena Park and La Palma as examples, Houston said, examining what events they have held as well as their budgets.

    La Palma’s event, Culture Fest, took place last year and included a festival, car show, parade, food trucks and live entertainment with a budget of just under $30,000. Buena Park hosted a similar event, Festival of Nations, with a similar budget that attracted many people from around Orange County, according to the presentation.

    Lake Forest’s future event is expected to be held at the Civic Center, said city spokesperson Jonathan Volzke, which will allow the use of the courtyard as well as the Performing Arts Center to host booths and performances.

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    “Lake Forest is already home to several signature events — from our annual Tree Lighting at the Civic Center to Concerts in the Park to our July 4 Parade — and we’re looking at the calendar to identify the right date, which will set our timelines for reaching out to potential participants,” said Volzke.

    Lake Forest’s Community Services Division is taking the lead on the event, and the city is also compiling a work group to ensure it “presents a multi-faceted and entertaining event that will allow Lake Forest residents to appreciate the many cultures that make up our community,” Volzke said.

    “I remember looking back to the Lake Forest City Council in 2014 and not seeing any diversity, but now, our council has diversity, and I think that is a reflection of where our city is currently at,” said Councilmember Benjamin Yu. “We have to start somewhere, and this is a great way to start. We begin at a smaller scale, and then we can go from there.”

    Additional updates on the future event will come soon, said Volzke.

    ​ Orange County Register