The Ottumwa Courier

April 6, 2014

Ottumwans participate in International Day festivities

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — Saturday afternoon at the Quincy Place Mall in Ottumwa, community members gathered to share and learn about different cultures from all over the world at the annual International Day Festival.

Booths lined the interior of the mall with different presentations from Scotland, Cameroon, Jamaica and several others countries around the world.

Vendors offered everything from beads and different culture’s fashion, and there were even a few booths where guests could sample delicious native food from all over the world.

Jerry Smith, of Hedrick, was also on hand selling his book, Into the Heart of Africa.

Smith had a poster board set up with pictures that he took on his motorcycle trip across Africa in 1975 and was talking with guests about his experiences. He also mentioned that there are a lot of reasons why he thinks the International Day Festival is important to the community, but one of the major draws is the education that community members can receive by simply talking with fellow Ottumwans.

“It brings a lot of enjoyment,” he said. “[Guests] can see things they’ve never seen before.”

At the center of the mall there were more extensive presentations on a big stage. Performers entertained crowds with presentations like belly dancing, singing and a tae kwon do demonstration by Gardner’s Tae Kwon Do, located in Ottumwa. All different belt colors - yellow, black, blue and black and red - participated in the demonstration led by Master Evan Gardner.

After the stage shows ended around 4 p.m., the children in attendance were treated to several piñatas hanging in in the middle of the mall.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh