The Ottumwa Courier

March 23, 2013

Explore the International Festival April 6

MARK NEWMAN
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — No matter how fascinating you find world cultures, you’re probably not going to get a degree in Chinese literature, become fluent in Portuguese or fly to a South Pacific island in one day. But you can see the clothing, try the food and meet a native from various nations at the 15th annual International Festival in Ottumwa.

The event takes place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 6 at the Quincy Place Mall.

“There will be free samples of a lot of the country’s food,” Molly Jones, one of the organizers, said Friday. “That’s what I’m interested in, is trying the food from all these different countries.”

The samples cover a broad spectrum of foods, from egg rolls to pizza. In the past, guests have tried pork tacos, Asian noodles and African rice.

“I’ll try anything once,” Jones said of her own adventurous palate. “People should come and try some new stuff.”

Some of the nations visitors may not have seen before include Brazil, Venezuela, Scotland, Egypt, Bahamas, Marshall Islands and India.

For those tired of just samples, vendors will be selling food, too. In fact, said Jones, there will be more vendors compared to previous International Day Festivals.

Entertainment will include dancers, singers and a Marshallese ukulele player.

It’s a family event, too, Jones said, so organizers want people to bring their kids to learn something about the world while having fun.

There will be four pinatas full of candy, and a local nonprofit group will host a series of activities for kids.

The festival is sponsored by the Ottumwa Human Rights Commission and the Convention Visitors Bureau.

If you or your organization want to support this nonprofit organization’s event, send donations to International Day Festival, c/o Mark Eckman, Ottumwa Convention & Visitors Bureau, 102 Church St., Ottumwa, Iowa 52501.