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Toledo Sister Cities International Festival postponed until Sept. 12


TOLEDO, March 12, 2020: Jim Hartung, president, Toledo Sister Cities International Board of Trustees, has announced that the Eleventh Annual International Festival, which was scheduled to take place April 18, 2020 at the Toledo SeaGate Centre, 401 Jefferson St., has been postponed until September 12 due to the Coronavirus [COVID 19] pandemic.


The decision was reached March 11, at an International Festival Committee meeting.


“COVID19 has already created worldwide disruption to travel, tourism, conventions, schools, sporting events, and other special events. The common denominator in these postponements or cancellations is public safety.  Experts encourage people to avoid events with large crowds.  So, the International Festival Committee decided it was in the best interest of everyone involved if we postponed our event,” said Rogene Kohler, chair, TSCI Festival Planning Committee


This isn’t TSCI’s first dealings with the Coronavirus.  In December of 2019, the two TSCI organizations that represent sister cities in Qinhuangdao & Nanchong, China asked for donations to purchase masks and gowns to combat the deadly virus.


“We put out a call to help our sister cities in China and our community responded raising $10,000 for each city,” said Hartung.  “Rather than purchase $20,000 in masks and gowns in the U.S. and then deal with the logistical nightmare of trying to ship them to China, we simply forwarded the donated money to our sister city organizations in Qinhuangdao & Nanchong, allowing them to purchase the needed supplies.”


The TSCI effort to help Qinhuangdao & Nanchong was honored with a Toledo City Council Resolution in February sponsored by Councilman Gary Johnson.


When held in April, the Toledo Sister Cities International Festival holds the distinction of being the first festival of the season in Northwest Ohio.  Participating countries include: Spain, China, Hungary, Poland, Japan, Tanzania, Germany, Lebanon, Pakistan, and India


Between now and September, festival organizers will continue to look for corporate sponsors and volunteers for the event which attracts over 2,000 people each year.


The International Festival has authentic ethnic food available from several participating countries, as well as world beers.  Vendors will be on-hand to offer crafts and other goods. Merchandise representing many other countries will be available.  All Sister City clubs and committees and other local organizations with an international interest will have information and activities. There will also be an opportunity to learn a bit of a different language every half-hour.


The upcoming festival will include recognizing the Toyohashi, Japan Committee and their 20th anniversary as part of Toledo Sister Cities International.   TSCI will also begin promoting for 2021 the 90th Anniversary of the signing between Toledo, Ohio and Toledo, Spain which is the first “sister city” relationship anywhere.


Toledo Sister Cities International has been at the forefront of building international relationships between municipalities since 1931.  In 1956, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower continued to foster Sister Cities agreements on a mayor-to-mayor basis.  


In 1993, TSCI incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) organization and in 2020 will celebrate 27 years of service.  TSCI has established agreements with Coimbatore (India); Coburg (Germany); Hyderabad (Pakistan); Poznan (Poland); Qinhuangdao & Nanchong (China); Szeged (Hungary); Tanga (Tanzania); Toledo (Spain); and Toyohashi (Japan). A regional agreement is in place with Bekaa Valley (Lebanon).


TSCI runs the International Youth Academy which brings youth from all over the world to Toledo for a two-week period during the summer months.  Part of TSCI mission is to assist in the facilitation of area economic development ventures by providing cultural, educational, language and other key services.


For more information on the Eleventh Annual Toledo Sister Cities International Festival or to become a member of TSCI, visit www.toledosistercities.org. Information on TSCI is also available on Toledo Sister Cities International Facebook page and by email at [email protected]


Those interested in volunteering should e-mail Ms. Kohler at [email protected]. Those interested in becoming a corporate sponsor or making a tax deductible donation should contact John Glaza, treasurer, TSCI Board of Trustees, / e-Mail:  [email protected] or at 419-704-2284.





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