Lorain’s International Legacy

2016 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Lorain International Festival.  To recognize and honor that historic milestone, the Lorain Historical Society researched and designed an exhibit that was on display at the Festival.  Attendees were amazed at the rich history and tradition of the many ethnic groups that came to Lorain to find work and to make a better life for their families.  We’ve 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.  Please contact us at [email protected]


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 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.

We hope this information gives you insight into Lorain’s demographic origin as well as your personal origin as well. 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 at:

Lorain Historical Society • 329 W. 10th St. • Lorain, OH 44052
Phone:  (440) 245-2563 • e-mail: [email protected]