Friday, April 9, 2010

Parade of nations

The Columbia International Festival gets better every year

By Judit Trunkos

The Columbia International Festival celebrates its 15th year with over 75 cultures and 50 countries represented by vendors, bazaars, food and entertainment. Some of the nations represented this year will be Canada, Norway, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Taiwan, India and China just to mention a few.
“This is the largest international community event in South Carolina,” says Dr. Raj Aluri, founding director of the event. “There are people driving from all over our state to see so many cultures under one roof.”
South Carolina’s international community is much more diverse than most people realize. Currently people from over 200 countries have migrated to South Carolina, making up about 10 percent of the overall population.
“The hospitality of the Southern culture and growing job opportunities add to the attractiveness of South Carolina,” Dr. Aluri adds.
In addition to the authentic international dishes, one of the main attractions of the festival is the live music and dance. This year’s featured country is Hungary, and in celebration of this Central European nation, there will be folk dancers from “Csürdöngölő” ensemble from North Carolina and from Southeastern School of Ballet who will be presenting authentic folk dances from different regions of Hungary. Most people have heard of “goulash” but now the visitors will have a chance to try the real flavors of Hungary.
Beautiful posters from specific regions of Hungary and a Transylvanian gate assembled at the entrance will make the Hungarian experience richer and more authentic.
In addition to the abundance of Hungarian culture, music and flavors, the honorary guest of the event, Bela Gedeon, Cultural Attaché of Hungary, will open the festival on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. with a brief speech and introduction followed by the flag ceremony.
“This event is not only a colorful and authentic international gathering, but also a great opportunity to network with international people,” says Dr. Aluri.

The festival will run April 17 and 18. For more information visit www.http://www.cifonline.org.

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