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International Festival ready for 25th ‘party’

Jim Krapf sports the International Festival T-shirt he designed for this year's event. (Ryan McGaughey/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Organizers of Worthington’s upcoming International Festival are working to make sure this year’s event is a party worth remembering.

That’s what Jim Krapf, vice chair of the festival committee, had in mind when he designed the T-shirt for this year’s celebration.

“It’s the 25th anniversary of the festival, and so we wanted to do something to mark that as an accomplishment in our community,” Krapf said Friday. “The committee came up with the idea of having a contest for having a T-shirt that would commemorate the occasion.

“I was thinking about a possible design and was with some family members eating at a Mexican restaurant, and one of them was wearing a T-shirt that said ‘Let’s fiesta,’” he continued. “I told them about our International Festival, and in that conversation someone also made reference to Lionel Richie’s song ‘All Night Long.”

Richie’s hit, which dates back to 1983, includes the lyrics, “We’re going to party, Karamu, fiesta, forever, come on and sing along.” The lyrics also include the word “liming,” which Krapf looked up.

“It means a leisure activity entailing the sharing of food and drink and exchange of tall stories and jokes and anecdotes, provided the activity has no explicit purpose beyond itself. Of course, our International Festival really does have a purpose … and that’s to celebrate our diverse community.”

Krapf’s T-Shirt design includes a logo of four distinctly colored hands reaching toward a red heart, along with the words “Let’s party.” He’s quick to point out that “let’s party” isn’t endorsing the use of alcohol or other substances.

“What I don’t want to communicate with that is getting high and rowdy or drunk and rowdy,” Krapf stressed. ‘“Let’s party’ means a celebration of each other and the uniqueness of our community’s diversity in expressions of music and dance. Part of that is those expressions help us value the best and help us persevere through the worst, which is something really needed at this point.”

An International Festival subcommittee brought two T-shirt designs to the primary committee for a vote; Krapf recused himself from the vote; he won a free festival shirt for his efforts.

“My original design had four words that you would translate into English as ‘party’ but they (committee members) decided they wanted fewer words on the shirt,” he explained. “But, during the festival, we’ll have a big poster board where people can come up and write the word for “party” in their language.”

Krapf has another key role in this year’s festival. On Thursday evening (July 12) beginning at 6 p.m., he’ll lead “Journey to America” inside the Worthington Fire Hall. A variety of ethnic desserts will also be available at the event, which he’s hosting for the third year.

“This German immigrant comes with a sack on his back and he works hard and becomes the owner of farmland and becomes successful,” Krapf described of ‘Journey.’ “To own land was a key thing in his ability to move forward, which is not an opportunity that is available today. We do know that amongst the immigrant community, there is more entrepreneurial enterprise than amongst the general population.

“The other thing that’s going to be kind of unique this year is that Andrea Magana (who has created and maintained “Humans of Worthington” on Facebook) is going to be doing some live interviews with some of the younger, more recent immigrants after the play,” Krapf said. “Following that, there will be kind of a town-hall meeting with bankers … who will be visiting Worthington. If they’re coming Thursday night and staying the weekend, I think this will be a good introduction for them.”

Krapf will also be acting out a Christmas letter from a German immigrant during the Old-Fashioned Fourth of July event set for Wednesday at Pioneer Village. Krapf’s performance is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

The 25h anniversary International Festival, featuring a variety of entertainment as well as food and arts and crafts vendors, will continue Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14 on the grounds of the Nobles County Government Center.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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