Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

November 13, 2013

International festival returns for 37th year

Event highlights cultures from around the world

Hendricks County Flyer

---- — The Indy International Festival returns Nov. 22-24 to the West Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St.

The event presents the opportunity travel the world in just a few steps. At every turn, a different culture is represented with displays, traditional dress, music, movement and dance, and food and drink.

The main stage provides entertainment that is based on art, culture, and expression from all corners of the globe. Students and children are given special attention in concentrated cross-culture learning experiences.

The international festival is an annual celebration of central Indiana’s ethnic and cultural diversity. Hosted by the Nationalities Council of Indiana, this year marks the 37th annual event. More than 50 ethnic or national affinity organizations plus other groups, businesses, and individuals interested in focusing on central Indiana’s diversity will host booths at the event.

The festival is designed to feed the body, mind, and spirit with foods, educational experiences, and artistic performances from every continent. Volunteers in traditional dress in dozens of booths share stories of their ethnic heritage and many offer authentic foods and displays of cultural items. On stage, performers showcase the choreography, rhythms, and traditional dress of their native lands.

This year’s festival will feature two nationally-acclaimed performing groups based in Indiana. Bloomington-based, Middle Eastern ensemble “Salaam” performs the first day on the main stage, followed by Silk Road Ensemble on the 23rd, another Bloomington-based act.

One of the primary missions of the international festival is to provide students and teachers with a cultural and educational experience. Thousands of school children and their teachers will visit the festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 21-22. These students will have an opportunity to learn about diversity and explore their own ethnic roots as they “travel” the festival using student passports provided by the Nationalities Council and the Eli Lilly Foundation. Also for students, the Nationalities Council will partner with the Geography Educator’s Network of Indiana to present the National Geographic Society’s Giant Travelling Map of Asia, designed to introduce students to the power of maps and the diverse geography of Asia. Special reduced prices are available for school hours.

Students and weekend visitors can also participate in Italian Street Painting and new this year, Interactive Art Experiences hosted by the Indianapolis Art Center. Students will be encouraged to work with IAC staff to create:

• Hero Portraits — Using a diverse selection of heroes from around the world, make a unique drawing of a hero using half a photograph as inspiration.

• Multicultural Magnet Collage — Participants will learn about different styles of traditional dress from around the world, and create their own style by mixing and matching. The magnet boards will feature famous artists who were visionaries and creators of their own style, like Frida Khalo and Salvador Dali.

• Sadako’s 1000 Paper Cranes — Help the Art Center fold 1,000 paper cranes. They’re a symbol of peace created by Indianapolis’ international community.

Visitors will find gift-shopping opportunities at the international festival in the International Marketplace. Items from around the world made by artisans and producers whose work conveys their native heritage and culture will be featured.

A broad selection of wines and beers from around the world will be available in the International Festival Beer Garden, where adults attending can relax and refresh while still able to take in performances on the main stage.

Representatives from the two Indiana U.S. Senators and U.S. House of Representatives will participate in a naturalization ceremony as part of the festival. A large group approaching 200 people will become the newest U.S. citizens in a special ceremony 3 p.m. Nov. 22, officiated by U.S. Magistrate Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.

Advance discount tickets may be purchased online at IndyInternationalFestival.org. Adult tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets for children ages 6 to 12 are $6 in advance and at the door. Children 5 and younger are free. Festival hours are 2-9 p.m. Nov. 22, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 23 and noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 24.