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City announces Wheaton World Tour to celebrate diversity

WHEATON – The City of Wheaton will add a new summer festival to its repertoire next month, according to a release from the city.

The free Wheaton World Tour opens Jul. 11 and was spearheaded by Wheaton's Community Relations Commission to celebrate the diversity and culture in the city. It will be held at 6 p.m. in Memorial Park.

Local vendors serving a range of international flavors will be in attendance, including Genghis Grill, Pad Thai and the Giavia Sweets food truck. Community Relations Commission member Laurie Swanson Oberhelman also said that the food trucks from Chicago's Bombay Wraps and Two Italians Deli and Pizzeria will be present.

Festival-goers can take in performances from community members, including Real Women Belly Dance, Burundi and Rwanda Performers in native dress and international performer Yin Han, who will play a two-stringed violin and be accompanied vocally by her daughter.

The commission began in the 1960s during a time when diversity was a major local issue, Swanson Oberhelman said. Now the commission continues to celebrate the city's cultural variety.

"As Wheaton continues to become more diverse, this has really become an area that embraces helping new people coming to the United States and specifically to our area," she said.

Swanson Oberhelman said that the commission would like to see the celebration continue annually, but that the details and scope would likely change as the years go by.

Other event componenents include a booth for the Women's Wisdom Artisans, who will be displaying multicultural handcrafted creations. The program assists low-income women working toward starting their own businesses, according to the release. Activities for children include games, "passports" and book readings through the Wheaton Public Library's "Have Book – Will Travel" program.

The Wheaton Municipal Band will perform at 8 p.m. as part of their summer concert series, playing pieces from around the world.

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