North Central College - Naperville, IL

Experience world cultures at North Central College's International Festival Feb. 12

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North Central's German Club exhibit
North Central's German Club exhibit

North Central College will host its 16th Annual International Festival on Feb. 12, featuring new performance groups and participating community organizations, authentic international cuisine, ethnic dancing, live music and more.

The “Around the Corner, Around the World” festival will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, at North Central’s Merner Field House, 450 S. Brainard St., Naperville. Doors to the balcony open at 11:45 a.m. for the opening international flag ceremony; doors to the arena floor open after the ceremony. Admission is $6 at the door; children 3 and under are free. Food from an international menu will be available for purchase, as well as raffle tickets to win prizes. All proceeds support North Central College scholarships for international study.

Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel and North Central College President Harold R. Wilde will open the festival, along with the Boy Scouts and 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, McNulty Irish Dancers, Weber School of Irish Dance, Ray Chinese School, Flamenco dancers, Sokol, Apollo Dance Troupe, Elite Marshall Arts and Glen Ellyn Aikido Club. New this year are performances by Russian dancers, Knights of Lithuania dancers, Philippine American Cultural Foundation Performing Arts and SoulConnection, a youth chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

The intercultural experience also features a lion dance by North Central College students and interactive booths hosted by several community organizations. Groups include Naperville Cultural Center, Sokol, Language Stars, Glen Ellyn Aikido Club, Ray Chinese School, DuPage Children’s Museum, AFS Greater Chicago intercultural program, City of Naperville Sister Cities Commission, Polish Friends of Naperville, Naperville Russian Center, Elite Martial Arts and Naperville North High School Spectrum Club. New booths and host organizations include Turkish friends of Naperville, Independence Village and SoulConnection.

In addition, several North Central College student organizations, including the German Club, Japan Club, Fusion Espanola, Students In Free Enterprise 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 eight different cultures and languages—French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Spanish and Thai—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   

Authentic cuisine, prepared and catered by Belgio’s in Naperville, and soft drinks will be available for purchase, ranging from $2 to $5.50. There will also be a raffle for gift certificates for dining at downtown Naperville. Raffle tickets may be purchased at the festival for $1/ticket or $5/6 tickets.

All attendees are encouraged to bring one canned food item to be donated to Loaves & Fishes food pantry in Naperville.

The festival is co-sponsored by the College’s Office of International Programs, The Rotary Club of Naperville and Positively Naperville. For more information contact the Office of International Programs at 630-637-5132.