Sock Hop - 1

By Matt Helm


Sister Cities of Belvidere hosted the Taste of Sister Cities Sock Hop on Saturday, June 18 at the Boone County Community Building Complex. Tickets were $20 and proceeds went towards the Youth Exchange program.

“The organization exists to connect people across the world. It is a global social organization,” Sister Cites Vice President Cathy Ward said.

Belvidere is Sister Cities with Schwieberdingen, a town of 10,700 inhabitants in Southwest Germany. Vaux-le-Pénil, France became Belvidere’s second sister city in 1999.

“We send groups of people from Belvidere to Europe, and many people from Europe come here and we live in each other’s houses and exchange ideas and get to know each other better,” Ward said. “It is an organization aimed at better communication. We send four young people to Europe every summer and they send four young people here. We get youth involved and hope that they will stay connected.”

The sock hop featured German, French, and American cuisine, including German potato salad, French pastries, and American apple pie.

“The Wize Guys” from Arlington Heighs performed 50s, 60s and 70s music.

Sock Hop - 2“Every year we raise money to give to our youth ambassadors and the sock hop with the 50/50 raffle is one of the ways we do that,” Ward said. “The young people are introduced and given checks. Our major sponsor is the City of Belvidere, but we also have other individuals that make sure we have enough money.”

Sister Cities is currently exploring the possibility of partnering with more cities across the globe.

“We went to Ireland as a group, and Belvidere has a huge Irish population, so we are currently looking at adding a city there,” Ward said. “We are also working on getting a sister city in Japan.”

The Sister Cities of Belvidere has existed for about 25 years.

“We are dedicated to fostering relationships with other countries,” Ward said. “We’ve met a lot of people and have maintained long term relationships. That’s what it’s all about.”


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