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Lorain's International

The International City is rich in history and strong in tradition, consisting of many ethnic groups that came to Lorain to find work and to make a better life for their families.  We have collected some of the research and have made it available for a wider audience here on our website.  We welcome any additional information on this topic, or personal stories that you would be willing to share.

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"Over 55 Nationalities"

Immigrants are the people that make up the United States, but they are also the people who make up Lorain. Lorain, Ohio, dubbed the “International City,” currently has residents representing over 55 different nationalities.

This led the city to create the International Festival, with its First Festival held in 1967. This festival was created to combine all the different, ethnic festivals that Lorain previously had and create one, unified event. Lorain has kept this tradition alive and celebrated their 50th International Festival in June, 2016.

Though Lorain’s International legacy is very unique, it does follow trends that many other parts of the United States experienced as well. There are three major waves of immigration in the United States’ history: the colonial era, the early 19th century, and the 1880s-1920s. Most came find a better economic opportunity, and others came to find political and religious freedom.

Learning About YOUR Heritage

Click the links below to learn more about the different ethnic groups that arrived in Lorain, Ohio!

African American


Bulgarian & Macedonian

French & German

Italian & Swiss

Mexican & Mexicano


Native American


Puerto Rican



United Kingdom

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We hope this information gives you insight into Lorain’s demographic origin as well as your personal origin. Unfortunately, we do not have information about all 55 different nationalities, but we would love to one day!

If your heritage is not listed in the text, and you have information you would like to share with the Lorain Historical Society, please contact us!

International Collection

See the images from our Lorain International Festival below with photos by John Milas. These images are taken from the Ohio Memory Lorain Historical Society Digital Collection. These images are from the John Milas Photo Collection.

The John Milas Collection consists of photographs and slides taken by local amateur photographer John Milas. The collection contains images of the Lorain International Festival taken between 1967 through 2003. The festival was started in 1967 as a celebration of Lorain’s diversity during a turbulent time in the nation’s history. It includes a bazaar, pageant, and parade during which cultural organizations are invited to share their customs, food, and music with others in the community. The annual tradition continues every June and to many symbolizes the official start of summer.

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