Explore cultures from around the world at Feb. 14 International Festival

Jan 27, 2016

North Central College welcomes members of the community to attend its 20th annual International Festival on Feb. 14. Hosted by the College’s Office of International Programs, the festival celebrates Naperville’s cultural diversity and offers opportunities for community members to explore cultures from around the world.

All are invited to join the celebration from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, in the College’s Gregory Arena at Merner Field House, 450 S. Brainard St. Tickets are $6/person at the door or $5/person in advance; visit the College’s Office of International Programs, 48 E. Jefferson Ave., Naperville. All proceeds will benefit the International Scholarship Fund to support international students coming to North Central College and North Central students who study abroad.

The Chinese New Year dragon dance will kick off the festival, followed by an opening ceremony with the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of Naperville and welcome by North Central President Troy Hammond, Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico and Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11). The day features performances by various international groups, language immersion rooms, refreshments and dozens of exhibits.

First-time performers this year include Kindergruppe from the American Aid Society of German Descendants, a Japanese dancing group Miko Ren, Awa Odori, and a dragon dance group performed by the Formosa Association of Student Cultural Ambassadors. North Central welcomes back the Indian dancers Nartan, Knights of Lithuania Dancers, flamenco performers, Weber and McNulty Irish dance groups, Mala Wisla Polish folk dancers and more.

Some 20 exhibits or booths will populate the arena and engage visitors in creating Mexican and Japanese crafts and Chinese paper-folding and cutting; and learning about Hispanic and Latin American culture, and responsible saving and spending. Others offer opportunities to purchase origami jewelry, gifts for Valentine’s Day, jewelry made by women at risk and more.

Always popular are the language immersion rooms. This year, visitors can sign up for German, Spanish, Japanese and Arabic languages. Teachers, native speakers and students will lead each experience. Advance registration for the 30-minute language rooms is encouraged; call 630-637-5132. In addition, a tasty menu of international cuisine will be prepared by Belgio’s Catering and available for purchase.

This annual festival exemplifies one of many programs that resulted in North Central receiving the prestigious 2015 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. This national honor recognizes North Central’s extensive offerings in study abroad, academics, cocurricular clubs and other programs that support global education.

The 20th annual International Festival is cosponsored by U.S. Bank, North Central College’s Office of International Programs and Positively Naperville. For more information contact Rebecca Pugh at 630-637-5132 or rjpugh@noctrl.edu.