By Mike Leifheit
For the past couple of years, the Romanian Sister City Committee under the direction of Ramona Cornea, Ph.D., has coordinated a spring event called Martisor with the Romanian Sister City of Cluj. This has been a very successful event, attended by hundreds of Rockford people and dignitaries like Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I). Martisor is a traditional Romanian celebration of the coming of spring.
Cluj is a city in Transylvania (yes, the home of Dracula) with a population of approximately 380,000. It has been a sister city of Rockford through Sister Cities International since 2005. The first coordination of the Martisor event occurred in 2009. Emilia Botesan of the Cluj International School organized a Martisor competition. The winner, Elena Dombi, was rewarded with a trip to Rockford.
This year’s Rockford Martisor event, held at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford in February, was sponsored by William Charles, LLC. Chuck Howard, its owner, sits on the Sister City Committee, and takes a great deal of interest in Rockford’s Sister City program. Two sophomores from Cluj high schools will be coming to visit Rockford in August—Diana Matei and Todor Oltean.
Because of the proximity of Transylvania to Hungary (Transylvania is an ethnic Hungarian section of Romania, formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian empire) the Romanian and Hungarian Sister City Committees have decided to join forces for an event June 26. Through the kindness of Jim and Pam Keeling, it will be held at the International Peace Plaza. A barbecue featuring ethnic food, dancing and music will be offered. The public is invited.
From the June 23-29, 2010 issue