Fun had by all at International FestivalWORTHINGTON — Like several others, Kaybe Amare of Worthington volunteered to spend Saturday afternoon helping out with the children’s activities at the Worthington International Festival.
WORTHINGTON — Like several others, Kaybe Amare of Worthington volunteered to spend Saturday afternoon helping out with the children’s activities at the Worthington International Festival.
What made his volunteerism a little different is that Saturday was also his 15th birthday.
“This is the second year I’ve helped with the activities,” he said. “A lot of kids come through and it’s fun.”
Amare and a friend were in charge of the soccer booth — one of the many activities planned to keep kids busy during the festival.
The children’s activities, sponsored by the Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC), were under the management of Lakeyta Potter, and designed to keeps kids occupied and happy.
“Every year there are so many kids, and we try to mix things up each year to keep it fresh,” Potter said during one of the few quite moments on the west lawn of the Nobles County Government Center in downtown Worthington. “We’re focusing on more outside games and on keeping the kids more active.”
To represent several cultures, the activities included some traditional carnival games, but with interesting twists.
A storyteller from Trinidad, African face painting, a ring toss for Hispanic soda pop and the soccer challenge kept kids busy.
The body boppers and bouncing balls kept everyone laughing, and a few competitive games had most parents grabbing for a camera.
Watching children eat chocolate pudding off a plate — no hands allowed — to get to a gumball buried inside and compete to blow the first bubble had adults and kids chortling with glee.
“We’ll have piñatas, too, and that’s always a big hit,” Potter said. “I don’t know exact numbers, but I’ll bet there have been at least 200 kids through here.”
The festival wasn’t all about the children’s activities, of course.
Over on the east lawn of the government center, rows of chairs stayed filled with audience members watching the performers on the main stage.
The music and dancing kept toes tapping and hands clapping.
Music and dancing was performed by the Roe Family Singers, the Concord Singers, the Lao Women’s Association, Voices of Sepharad, Hayor of Bibimma, Nicolas Carter and Son del Sur, the Karen Dancers and Salsa del Soul.
During one intermission, a group of Ethiopian dancers demonstrated native moves – the group started with four people and grew as others wandered over to join.
Some of the youngest audience members couldn’t resist the allure and joined the dancers on the lawn.
Festival committee member Mike Cumiskey said the crowd had started off slowly because of a threat of bad weather, but as the clouds passed over, the people really started to show up.
“The children’s activities are busy today, and we had a nice crowd here Friday night,” Cumiskey reported. “The talent show went well, the weather was beautiful and everybody had a good time.”