North Central College’s Office of International Programs will host its 18th annual International Festival, a celebration of Naperville’s cultural diversity. Community members of all ages are invited to attend the 2014 festival from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, in North Central’s Gregory Arena at Merner Field House, 450 S. Brainard St.
Educational exhibits, international cuisine, language immersion rooms, multicultural performances, raffle prizes, gifts and more are part of the lively celebration. Tickets are $6 at the door or $5 in advance by visiting the College’s Office of International Programs, 48 E. Jefferson Ave. Raffle tickets may be purchased for $1/ticket or $5/six tickets.
All proceeds will benefit the International Scholarship fund to support international students coming to North Central and North Central students who study abroad.
Doors open at 11:45 a.m. for the opening international flag ceremony with North Central College President Troy D. Hammond and U.S. Rep Bill Foster (D-Naperville). The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago will serve as honor guards.
A variety of international groups will perform throughout the day. They include the Nartan Indian Academy of Dance, World Performance Team, Weber School of Irish Dance, Sokol Naperville TYR, Mala Wisla Polish Folk Dancers, Knights of Lithuania dancers, Ray Chinese School dancers, Elite Marshall Arts, McNulty Irish Dancers, Glen Ellyn Aikido Club, Apollo Dance Troupe, The Pebbles Foundation step team and North Central College students and faculty as flamenco dancers. North Central students also will perform traditional Chinese lion, dragon and kung fu dances.
Children attending the festival will be given passports when they arrive. As they visit each interactive booth, they receive a stamp and can win a prize if they visit each one. The community groups sponsoring the booths are AFS Greater Chicago, Cambridge-Green Planet, Chicago Passport Agency, Naperville Sister Cities Commission, DuPage Children’s Museum, Elite Marshall Arts, Glen Ellyn Aikido Club, Language Stars-Naperville, the Rotary Club of Naperville, Silverado Naperville, Sokol Naperville TYRS, Ten Thousand Villages, WAR Chest Boutique, Xilin Asian Community Center, IMSA East European Cultural Club and Illinois Shaolin Kung Fu. Several North Central College groups will have exhibits, too. They include the Chinese Club, Fusión Española, German Club, Japan Club, Enactus and Office of International Programs with its Friendship Families and English Language Institute programs.
A record nine language immersion rooms will feature Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mongolian, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese cultures and languages. Teachers, native speakers and students will lead each experience. Advance registration for the 30-minute language rooms is encouraged; call 630-637-5132.
Food from an international menu will be prepared by Chef by Request and available for purchase. Canned food items also will be collected and given to Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry. Some 15 boxes of food were collected last year. For more information contact Bessma Shammas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-637-5132.
The 18th annual International Festival is cosponsored by the Rotary Club of Naperville and Chef by Request. West Suburban Bank is donating popcorn and the popcorn machine.