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Families are invited to celebrate our community’s diversity at this weekend’s 31st annual Rochester World Festival. Hosted by the Rochester International Association, the festival will kick off with an ethnic stage show tonight that will include the Rochester Community and Technical College Drummers and various local dancers and musicians.

Saturday’s events will begin with the Parade of Nations (led by Mayor Brede), and will feature an ethnic food tasting (with fare from Korea, Vietnam, India, Greece and other countries) and lots of fun activities for kids (piñatas, origami, puppets, games from around the world, face painting, art activities and more). In addition, kids can help make a multicultural quilt and visit the literacy tent where they’ll be given a bilingual book to take home with them.

"The World Festival celebrates the diversity in our community and helps us better understand each other," said John Berquist, volunteer with the Rochester World Festival. "You’ll find diverse cultures represented as well as information about the way of life individuals bring with them (from their country of origin) to add to the cultural mix of Rochester. This is a festival that everyone in Rochester should be involved in."

The World Festival is hosted by the Rochester International Association, a local nonprofit organization that got its start 30 years ago and continues to be a strong part of the Rochester community. The World Festival is just one of RIA’s many ongoing events.

According to Phyllis Layton, past president of RIA, the festival "provides a chance for us to learn from each other through play and games. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, learn something from them, and appreciate the contributions they make in our community."


Tickets for today’s stage show are $3 for children and students and $8 for adults. Saturday’s events are free. Food tickets for Saturday’s ethnic food tasting may be purchased for 50 cents each.

Family Time is written by Lindy Lange, editor of

Go & Do

WHAT: Rochester World Festival, Friday, April 20, 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Mayo High School, 1420 11th Ave. S.E.  


RIA facts


• Co-hosts the International Summer Picnic. The annual event is open to the public and welcomes new international individuals and families to the Rochester community. This year’s picnic will be held July 18 at Silver Lake Park.

• Hosts the monthly International Lunch. The lunch provides a way to meet new people, make friendships and find out about cities and countries outside Rochester. It is held at the Rochester Area Family Y, 11:30 a.m. the second Wednesday of the month, September through May.


• More family calendar — Page D2.

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