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updated: 1/31/2011 3:28 PM

Fest brings the world to Naperville

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  • North Central College's International Festival offers a chance to learn about and experience elements of other cultures at booths representing community organizations, such as the Ray Chinese School, where past fest goers tried chopsticks.

      North Central College's International Festival offers a chance to learn about and experience elements of other cultures at booths representing community organizations, such as the Ray Chinese School, where past fest goers tried chopsticks.
    Tanit Jarusan/Daily Herald, February 2008

 
Daily Herald report

Visitors will get a chance to learn about cultures from around the globe at North Central College's 15th annual International Festival.

During the festival, visitors can sample authentic international cuisine, enjoy ethnic dancing and live music, experience a language immersion room and take part in games and crafts from around the world.

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The "Around the Corner, Around the World" festival runs noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at North Central's Merner Field House, 450 S. Brainard St., Naperville. Doors open at 11:45 a.m. Admission is $5 at the door, free for kids 3 and younger.

Food from an international menu will be for sale, as will raffle tickets to win prizes.

All proceeds support North Central College scholarships for international study.

Naperville Mayor George Pradel and North Central College President Harold Wilde will open the festival, along with the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and North Central cheerleaders participating in an international flag ceremony.

Throughout the afternoon, performances are planned by international groups, including the Nartan Indian Academy of Dance, Wisla Polish Dancers, McNulty Irish Dancers, Weber School of Irish Dance, Ray Chinese School, a Flamenco dancer, Egyptian dancer, Sokol gymnastics, Lopas Indian Dance Group, Xilin Chinese Academy dancers and Sharkey's Karate Studios.

The intercultural experience also features a lion dance and interactive booths sponsored by several community organizations. The groups include Naperville Cultural Center, Sokol, Ten Thousand Villages, Language Stars, Glen Ellyn Aikido Club, Ray Chinese School, Polish Friends of Naperville, DuPage Children's Museum, McNulty Irish Club, India Development Coalition of America, Cultural Care Au Pair, Naperville North High School Spectrum Club, Mid-USA Falun Dafa Association, Elite Martial Arts, Polish School, Naper Settlement/Naperville Heritage Society, Shining Stars Early Learning Center and Rotary Club of Naperville.

The Sister Cities commission of Naperville will introduce Naperville's newest Sister City, Pátzcuaro, Mexico. In addition, several North Central College student organizations, including Asian Student Konnection, Students In Free Enterprise, German Club and the office of international programs, will have activities for children and booths to help educate and promote cultural awareness.

The popular immersion rooms will be part of the festival again this year. Visitors can experience nine different cultures and languages -- French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Polish, Spanish and Arabic -- with teachers who are native speakers and students who are fluent in the language.

Advance registration for the 30-minute language rooms is necessary. Contact Bessma Shammas at (630) 637-5132 or bkshammas@noctrl.edu.

Authentic cuisine, prepared and catered by Belgio's in Naperville, and soft drinks will be for sale, with prices from $2 to $5.50. New this year is a raffle for prizes and gift certificates for dining in downtown Naperville. Raffle tickets may be purchased at the festival for $1 per ticket or $5 for six tickets.

All attendees are encouraged to bring one canned food item to be donated to Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry in Naperville.

The festival is co-sponsored by the college's office of international programs and Rotary Club of Naperville. For information, call the office of international programs at (630) 637-5132.

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