OTTUMWA — Having a conversation, a bite to eat and an open mind can lead to people of many backgrounds getting along as friends.
If you want to share a culture that's important to you, International Day in Ottumwa is your opportunity.
"We've had people sign up for places like Switzerland, India, Africa, the Bahamas, Scotland, China, Mexico and Jamaica," said event coordinator Molly Jones.
One of the organizers, Ed Ball from the Ottumwa Human Rights Commission, said tables from each culture typically contain photos, coins and other artifacts from the nation being represented. Frequently, there's food, too.
"They need to reserve a space, like a table or two, by calling [Molly Jones]. They need to put up a $10 deposit but when they show up, they get the deposit back; that's just to ensure they're going to be there," Ball said.
If participants want to provide free food samples, the International Day Committee will reimburse them up to $50 toward the cost of groceries: Save your receipts.
"The ones that want to sell food, they may do so," Ball said.
City health inspectors have certain hygiene requirement for serving food in public: If you have questions about health regulations, contact International Day organizers, and they can send directions.
Nearly all the spots for entertainment have already been scheduled. Jones said she's booked dancers of the Marshall Islands, a singer, a performer from India. Many presenters at their booths will wear native fashions.
Those who want a table to demonstrate the culture we're they've been, where they're from or just the culture they are interested in should call as soon as possible.
"We only have so many tables," said Ball. Ottumwa's annual International Day is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 5 at the Quincy Place Mall. There will be food and entertainment.