For 17 years, North Central College has welcomed members of the community to its annual International Festival to experience different cultures from around the world and around the corner. This year’s International Festival takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, in the College’s Merner Field House, 450 S. Brainard St., Naperville.
Doors open at 11:45 a.m. for the opening international flag ceremony. Admission is $6 at the door and $5 in advance at the Office of International Programs, 48 E. Jefferson Ave., until Jan. 25. Children will be given passports as they enter and awarded a stamp/sticker as they visit each educational booth.
All proceeds from the festival support North Central College scholarships for international students and North Central students studying abroad.
Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel and North Central College President Troy D. Hammond will open the festival, along with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago in an international flag ceremony.
Throughout the day, performances by various international groups will be staged in the field house. Those groups include the McNulty Irish Dancers, Nartan Indian Academy of Dance, Weber School of Irish Dance, Ray Chinese School, Sokol Naperville, Apollo Dance Troupe, Elite Marshall Arts, Glen Ellyn Aikido Club, World Performance Group, Knights of Lithuania dancers and Mala Wisla Polish Folk Dancers. Students from North Central College will perform flamenco dancing and a lion dance.
The popular immersion rooms are back and will feature Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish cultures and languages and be led by teachers who are native speakers and students fluent in the language. Advance registration for the 30-minute language rooms is encouraged; call 630-637-5132.
Interactive booths hosted by several community organizations will surround the performance area, giving visitors more opportunities to experience international cultures. Organizations include Alliance Française de DuPage, Chicago Passport Agency, City of Naperville Sister Cities Commission, Elite Martial Arts, Glen Ellyn Aikido Club, Fulbright Program/Kenya, Language Stars, Ray Chinese School, Rotary Club of Naperville, Sokol Naperville, Women at Risk Boutique and Positively Naperville. North Central’s student-run Chinese Club, German Club, Fusión Española, Japan Club, Enactus and International Club will host booths, as well as the Office of International Programs with information about hosting international students during the Summer Language Institute.
Food from an international menu will be prepared by Chef By Request and available for purchase. Again this year, canned goods will be collected for a local food pantry and raffle tickets may be purchased for $1/ticket or $5/6 tickets. For more information contact the Office of International Programs at 630-637-5132.
The 17th annual International Festival is co-sponsored by Rotary Club of Naperville, Positively Naperville, Chef By Request and North Central College. West Suburban Bank is donating popcorn and the popcorn machine.