CommUNITY Endeavor

International Festival Organizers Accepting Recipe Submissions

Posted: August 16, 2013

According Harrisonburg International Festival co-chair Vaunda Brown, food is a key part of the event’s three-fold motto: entertain, educate and eat. (Photo by Holly Marcus / Special to the DN-R)
To celebrate diverse cultures in a new way, Harrisonburg International Festival organizers are accepting community recipe submissions. (Photo by Holly Marcus / Special to the DN-R)
One of the most notable aspects of Harrisonburg is its growing appreciation for cultural diversity. There are an abundance of nationalities in the area, representing different parts of the globe. Many now Valley locals are proud of their respective heritage, often expressed through clothing, yard art and even bumper stickers.

These same folks often have culinary skills or a knack for developing unique recipes, another unifying aspect of life in the Valley. However, displaying these talents is often limited to the plates of family and friends.

In an attempt to broaden that scope the Harrisonburg International Festival — thanks to a donation from R.R. Donnelley — is now accepting family recipes to be published in the first “Celebrating CommUNITY Cookbook.”

Recipes Accepted
Locals have until Aug. 20 to submit a recipe that represents their respective culture. Submissions should be made on the Harrisonburg International Festival’s official web site or Facebook page.

Individuals, families and even businesses are welcome to contribute.

If selected, the recipe will be published in the cookbook, which will be available Sept. 28 at the festival.

“This is a community builder,” said Vaunda Brown, Co-chair of the Harrisonburg International Festival. “The area is very culturally diverse, and we want a cookbook to reflect this diversity.”

She has a point. According to the Harrisonburg Public Schools web site, only 65 percent of public school district students were born in the U.S. Furthermore, for 76 percent of the native-speaking individuals, Spanish is the mother tongue; 7 percent speak Arabic, and 3 percent speak Russian.

The cookbook is expected to cover a wide array of recipes, spanning German to Indonesian, Albanian to Hispanic foods.

Longstanding Idea
For the last several years, the idea to compile a community-based cookbook has been floated by the International Festival committee. Previously, the festival published a cultural coloring book for the children, but wanted to create something more impactful for the entire community.

“For the festival’s ‘Sweet 16,’ we wanted to do something special,” said Julia Harrison, Co-chair of the International Festival. “Thanks to the donation from R.R. Donnelley, we will be printing 2,000 copies of this cookbook.”

So far, area reception seems positive. People are excited for the cookbook, including Brenda Black, the Tourism Director for the City of Harrisonburg.

“I was thrilled when I heard they were going through with this,” admitted Black. “This is an exciting opportunity to share recipes from different continents. It would be exciting to see local restaurants contribute, as well.”

Given that the cookbook, along with entrance to the festival itself, is free of charge, donations are encouraged.

Furthermore, folks who submit a recipe will be entered into a random prize drawing, to be held at the festival itself, which includes a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

There are no boundaries in terms of recipes: Representatives of all cultures are encouraged to participate.

Brown could not contain her excitement for the International Festival and the cookbook opportunity.

“This free family event is one of Harrisonburg’s best kept secrets,” said Brown. “We want our cookbook to reflect our immigrant community.

“Our motto is to entertain, educate and eat.”

For more information about submitting a recipe, visit

Contact Matt Gonzales at 574-6265 or

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