Chinese performers

Chinese performers take the stage at the World Cultural Festival in Valparaiso in this undated photo.

VALPARAISO — The 11th Annual World Cultural Festival will transform Central Park Plaza Sept. 15 into a center for cultural diversity.

Sponsored by the Valparaiso International Center, the family-friendly event features music and dance from around the world, international art and handicrafts, ethnic cuisine and children’s activities from noon-5 p.m. The festival is open to everyone with free admission.

“The World Cultural Festival is the yearly climax of our efforts to promote better global awareness and connections among the many cultures that make up our local community,” said Duane Davison, founding director, in a news release. “The event provides an opportunity for people to learn about each other, enjoy music and dance, sample food and make friends. The festival has earned a national reputation as a guaranteed good time.”

The sound of Scottish bagpipes will open the event at the Porter Health Amphitheater, followed by dance and music performers. Festival goers can also try ethnic cuisine prepared by local restaurants including Roxana’s Restaurant (Afghan), Provecho (Latin American), Woodfire Restaurant (Mexican), Kin Khao Thai and Taste of India.

“We’ve got a terrific lineup of performers this year, representing the cultures of India, Mexico, West Africa, Greece, China, the Middle East, Peru and the USA," said Jen Hernandez, festival entertainment co-director. “Adoyele, a West African dance and drum troupe from Chicago, will be joining us for the first time.”

Nonprofit organizations and educational institutions will be in attendance, with information booths and representatives to engage with attendees. There will be a demonstration of origami and artists doing henna designs.

“A highlight of the festival, is the Parade of Nations,” said Hugh McGuigan, chairman of the board of directors. “We encourage attendees to wear traditional attire and carry the flag of their birthplace or ancestral homeland. This year, we are expecting a high turnout of Valparaiso University international students and the local immigrant community.”

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Porter County General Assignment Reporter

Emily covers Porter County news and features for The Times. A transplant from NW Ohio to NWI, Emily loves talking to people and hearing their stories. She graduated from the University of Toledo in 2018 and believes all dogs are good dogs.