Cultural Champions to be honored at roots Aurora Festival Friday

Ed Schleining and Gonzalo Arroyo
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A lifetime Auroran whose German immigrant ancestry led him into the sausage business, and a Mexican immigrant with an admirable determination to honor everyone he meets, both will be honored as Cultural Champions at the 2018 Roots Aurora Festival Friday in downtown Aurora.

Edward Schleining will be honored for continuing the tradition of German-style sausage making at The Wurst Kitchen Sausage Company on Aurora’s near East Side. The business began as a meat market in the 1870s, and moved to its present location, 638 Second Avenue, at corner of Union Street, in 1895. Schleining makes sausages from scores of old ethnic recipes as well as new items with unexpected, trendy tastes.   He will,  on a custom basis, reproduce secret family recipes and process game meat brought in by hunters.

Gonzalo Arroyo will be honored for his commitment to all the many ethnic traditions of Aurora by founding the Roots Aurora festival in 2013 as a showcase for every kind of talent, art, food, and music in the city.  A community leader and educator, Arroyo’s favorite element of the festival has been the Cultural Champions awards given to those who preserve and pass on the heritage of their homelands and ancestors.  Now retired, Arroyo divides his time between Aurora and his childhood home in San Miguel Epejan in Michoacan, Mexico, where he is working to develop American models of social support agencies.

The Roots Aurora Festival will be on Water Street Mall and run from 5-9 p.m. Friday  Cultural champions will be honored at 6 p.m. , following the youth talent show. The festival coincides with the monthly First Fridays downtown.  There will be entertainment from dance and music groups, ethnic food vendors, live art, children’s activities and souvenir sales.  Admission is free.

Over the last five years, Roots Aurora has honored 25 citizens who have heritage from 12 nations and three cultural communities.

For further information, visit or Roots.Aurora on Facebook.

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