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On October 5, Mayor Chet Mann of Sanford and Presidenta Ruth Olvera of Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico will sign an agreement establishing a Sister City relationship between the two cities.
The connection with Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico stems from the Jonesboro Rotary’s long and productive relationship with the Club Rotario Las Torres Satelite, which operates in the same region of Mexico. The clubs have sent members to and from each city several times over the past decade.
The signing ceremony will take place at City Hall after El Refugio’s annual Festival Latino at the Mann Center. The free festival offers a day of food, music, performances, and games that celebrate Sanford’s Latino community. A highlight of the festival this year will be a showcase of more than 20 dancers and musicians from Atizapán de Zaragoza.
“Our Sister City relationships are intended to promote a spirit of friendship, international cooperation, economic development, and goodwill,” says Mayor Mann. “Atizapán de Zaragoza’s visits to our city and their participation in the Festival Latino is just the beginning of what we think will be a long and beneficial partnership between our cities.”
The Sister Cities Association of Sanford manages Sanford’s Sister City program. Examples of activities by the Association include visits between government officials and citizens of both cities, cultural exchanges of art, music, performing arts, sports and other areas of mutual interest, educational and work training exchanges, and exploration of business opportunities.
This is Sanford’s second Sister City, but its first time hosting the signing ceremony. A delegation traveled to Yixing, China in 2015 to establish Sanford’s first Sister City.
Festival Latino will begin at 10:00 a.m. on October 5 and last until 3:00 p.m. Mayors from both cities will address the audience at 1:00 p.m. and Mayor Mann will proclaim October as ARTS-tober on behalf of the Lee County Arts Council.
The official Sister City signing ceremony will begin at 5:00 p.m. at City Hall. Both events are free and open to all.
For more information about Festival Latino, visit www.facebook.com/elrefugioleeco. For more information about the Sister City signing ceremony, or to become a member of the Sister Cities Association of Sanford, contact Kelly Miller at 919-777-1133 or visit www.sanfordsistercities.org.