International Festival slated to start FridayWORTHINGTON — The International Festival returns this weekend with the wide range of cultural experiences forged together for this annual, two-day event.
By: Sarah Korthals, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The International Festival returns this weekend with the wide range of cultural experiences forged together for this annual, two-day event.
Vendors and entertainment will be set up at the Nobles County Government Center lawn in Worthington for the 16th annual event.
“It’s a great time,” said Cheryl Avenel Navara, chairwoman of the entertainment committee. “The community has always been very supportive.”
Starting on Friday, the International Festival kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with the Celtic-rock band Highland Reign. The ensemble comes from Indianapolis and has traveled throughout Scotland and the U.S. with its own particular slant on traditional music — a unique twist of Celtic, Appalachian and acoustic styles.
Each of the three members of Highland Reign sings and plays a variety of instruments including guitar, bagpipes, the mandolin and the bodhran. Highland Reign CDs will be sold at the festival Friday evening.
The talent show featuring local youths will begin at 7:10 p.m.
On Saturday, activities and entertainment begin at 11 a.m. with the local group Six Steps Hip Hop, sponsored by the Nobles County Integration Collaborative. The Karen people will perform a traditional dance and music at 11:45 a.m.; they will also have their own food booth.
“Their costumes are fantastic, and the dancing is very lively,” Navara said.
Lao dancers are scheduled to perform at 12:55 p.m. Leroy Larsen and the Scandinavian Ensemble, veterans of the radio program “A Prairie Home Program,” will present Midwestern music at 2:05 p.m.
At 3:15 p.m., Mu Gung Hwa Dance and Drum will showcase Korean culture. Members of the local Oromo community will dress in their native costumes and present a traditional dance at 4:20 p.m.
Calle Sur, featuring Edgar East of Panama and Karin Stein of Colombia, is back in Worthington and will perform Latin American music at 4:55 p.m. Kabtamu Gizaw from Las Vegas will use a traditional instrument to perform Ethiopian music from 6 until 6:30 p.m. The final act of the evening will be a group back by popular demand, Flor y Canto, a mariachi band from the Twin Cities that will start its performance at 6:40 p.m.
“The festival is a chance to learn about one another’s cultures and to respect our differences,” Navara said.
The International Festival has unique opportunities for children to understand and be part of something completely new to them.
New to this year will be a hands-on experience of different cultures in the Global Villages. Four tents will be set up, and each has a unique culture as a theme. Children can go to each tent and will be able to experience an unfamiliar culture in an in-depth and fun way.
“It’s a great way for families to get comfortable with cultures they are not familiar with,” said Nichole Paladie, co-coordinator of the children’s activites.
At the African tent, children will learn to bead and get their faces painted in tribal decorations. There will be an African mask game as well as a unique version of hopscotch. Samples of African sweet bread will be available for tasting.
The Asian tent will have origami lessons, and kids can make Japanese kites. Youths will also learn how to play different games in different languages. Samples of Asian spring rolls will also be available.
At the Hispanic tent, children can make tissue flowers and paper hats. They will also play Spanish bingo and learn a few words from different countries of Latin America. There will be Hispanic candy available to try and piñatas to break.
Chuck Derbie will be in the Native American tent telling stories passed down through generations. Youths will also get to make a Buffalo pie life story and play a circle game with drums. There will also be Indian fry bread for the children to sample.
All of the crafts and games are free.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the kids enjoy different activities at Global Villages,” Paladie said. “This festival really shows how diverse Worthington is.”
The 4-H will have its petting zoo again after the successful turnout of both animals and kids last year. 4-H’ers will bring their pets and young livestock for all to enjoy for a few hours starting at about 11 a.m.
Vendors with a wide variety of ethnic foods will be available throughout the day Saturday and Friday evening. Ethnic products will also be available for purchase at the festival.
The festival is free and open to the public; however,donations will be accepted.