WORTHINGTON — If it is safe, people from all walks of life will have the opportunity to reconnect at this year’s International Festival on July 8, 9 and 10. Plans are underway for conversations and celebrations to unite as a community. A special focus will be honoring essential workers/heroes.

On Thursday evening (July 8) at the “Immigrant Conversations” event, a recent African, Asian and Hispanic immigrant who is an essential worker will tell their stories of struggles and triumphs during the pandemic.

On Friday evening, essential workers will be identified with a sticker, recognized and thanked, and be distinguished as flag bearers in the opening ceremony. They will be entered in a drawing for gift cards at local restaurants and for children’s books depicting ethnically diverse essential workers. Between the usual performances, an employer will thank an essential employee who has risked themselves by working during the pandemic, and a consumer will thank them both.

Individuals are encouraged to consider donating or volunteering for the event. Donations for the additional expenses can be made out to Worthington International Festival and delivered to the Chamber at 1121 Third Ave., Worthington 56187.

People may also volunteer to help with specific tasks in honoring our essential workers — distributing stickers, assisting with the drawings, contacting local restaurants, arranging the thank you exchanges and inviting essential workers to be present. With enough volunteers, a downtown parade may be coordinated. Assistance could be offered by driving vehicles symbolizing essential workers, and flatbed trailers, hayracks, and pickups to carry the people, and setting up a sound system to broadcast the music.

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Individuals who want to be a part of the team or have questions may contact the International Festival secretary, Jim Krapf, at (507) 360-1662 or jimcynkrapf16@gmail.com.