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updated: 2/13/2011 9:37 PM

International Fest draws more than 1,000 people

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  • Dancers from Ray Chinese School in Naperville perform their "Mu Lan" dance Sunday during the 15th annual International Festival at North Central College in Naperville.

       Dancers from Ray Chinese School in Naperville perform their "Mu Lan" dance Sunday during the 15th annual International Festival at North Central College in Naperville.
    Tanit jarusan | Staff Photographer

  • WISLA Polish Folk Dancers perform Sunday during North Central College's 15th annual International Festival, held at the Naperville school.

       WISLA Polish Folk Dancers perform Sunday during North Central College's 15th annual International Festival, held at the Naperville school.
    Tanit jarusan | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's sophomore student Kye Holston watches the ethnic dances Sunday during the Naperville school's 15th annual International Festival.

       North Central College's sophomore student Kye Holston watches the ethnic dances Sunday during the Naperville school's 15th annual International Festival.
    Tanit jarusan | Staff Photographer

 
 

Naperville resident Shannon Bartlett said the International Festival held Sunday at North Central College seemed like a good way to give her 6-year-old son a fun lesson in diversity.

"We want to show him how nice it is that people are different, that they have different customs and interests," she said. "I like this event because you see all these groups here, these cultures, and it's all pretty much the Naperville area."

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The 15th annual International Festival ran from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at NCC's Merner Field House. The day included language demonstrations, ethnic dancing and music, craft displays and a variety of ethnic food offerings, from Polish sausage to egg rolls.

Bethany Williamson said her 10-year-old daughter, Kelli, has expressed interest in learning Chinese, so she loved seeing the dance demonstrations from students at Ray Chinese School in Naperville.

"I'm not sure when it started, but she's really fascinated by the whole culture," Williamson said.

In addition to heightening awareness about other cultures in the area, the International Festival also raises money for NCC's international scholarships, said Bessma Shammas of NCC's Office of International Programs.

"It's really the primary mission of the event," she said. "These scholarships allow students from abroad to come here to North Central College and students here to go overseas. Those are incredibly valuable experiences for young people to have."

Shammas said more than 1,000 people were expected to visit the festival throughout the day Sunday.

"The turnout is wonderful, and we're very grateful," she said.

The International Festival is a joint effort by NCC and the Naperville Rotary Club.

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