Naoko performs traditional Japanese music at an International House party in May promoting the International Festival on Oct. 1. Koen Van Rompay/Courtesy photo

Naoko performs traditional Japanese music at an International House party in May promoting the International Festival on Oct. 1. Koen Van Rompay/Courtesy photo

Fairs + Festivals

International festival celebrates unity in diversity

By From page A1 | September 7, 2011

Join the fun

What: International Festival, featuring music, dance, lectures, country showcase tables, children’s activities, refreshments, slam poetry, arts/crafts vendors

When: Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1

Where: Veterans’ Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St.

Admission: Free

Think globally, act locally, will take on new meaning at the free-admission International Festival on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Veterans’ Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St.

Organizers from International House, Davis, welcome all international students, scholars, visitors and community members to this daylong event from noon to 6 p.m.

“It’s all about celebrating unity in diversity,” said Calvin Handy, president of the I-House board of directors. Co-sponsors include the city of Davis and the UC Davis Office of Campus Community Relations.

A highlight of the afternoon will be at 3 p.m. when six “unsung heroes” will be celebrated for their commitment to unity in diversity. They are:

* Guy and Akemi Turner of Davis, who deliver Meals on Wheels, volunteer for Davis Community Meals serving meals and at the overnight shelter, and provide homestays for international visitors and those in distress.

Guy has chaired the Social Justice Committee at St. James Catholic Church for more than 10 years. Akemi cooks for whatever organization or individual needs a delicious Japanese meal.

* Lonna and Steve Hampton, who are committed to world peace and have made sure their three sons understand how fortunate they are to live in the United States. They have traveled with their boys to India and recently made several trips to Nicaragua with “Seeds of Learning” — Lonna speaks Spanish and wants to promote health care in developing countries.

* Marilyn Hays, who is well known in Woodland and throughout Yolo County, where she has volunteered for many years with high school and junior high students on everything from cultural sensitivity to self-esteem projects and from gardening projects to fundraising. Her organization is known as “We People.”

* Jack Jackson, president of the Yolo County African American Association, works tirelessly with disaffected Yolo County and Woodland youths. He is a mentor to young people who have no one else to turn to, and has worked in the Yolo County courts and probation departments.

* Teresa Ramirez, a dancer and teacher at Folklorico Latino de Woodland, uses art, dance,music and culture to bring young people together. No dancer joins her troupe without becoming a proud representative of the Latino culture.

Earlier, drummers will welcome everyone when the Vets’ Center doors open at noon. Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza will give a welcoming message as will representatives from UC Davis. Then the fun on stage will start with drummers from Davis Wakamatsu Taiko Dan and an international fashion show at 12:30 p.m.

Folklorico Latino de Woodland dancers will take the stage later, followed by young Chinese dancers in Flow Crew. Jason McAlister will play the guitar, Venezuelan dancers will dance and the Davis International Folk Dancers will perform.

Nathalie Dzokerayi will sing African songs and Marilynn Smith will sing from her wide-ranging repertoire.

Parents who bring their children will find lots to do, organized by Judith Plank and the Davis Human Relations Commission:

* Rachelle Trerice will have Amazon River photographs and hands-on items from the Amazon for kids;

* Diane Winslow will have a world map, native costumes for children and will organize a children’s parade;

* John Pamperin will read to children in the reading corner;

* Peggy Rollins will help with mask-making, particularly animal masks;

* Mike who fiddles with bikes will give free rides;

* Mark Nemmers, the Amazing Mr. Hasben, will be a roving magician;

* Assistant City Manager Kelly Stachowitz will provide international coloring books for the first 100 kids on site; and

* Erin Short of the Federico Beauty Institute and her volunteers will offer face-painting.

But that’s not all. The multipurpose room at the Vets’ Center will be home to more than 20 country tables, each offering cultural artifacts and insights and a children’s game or toy. Countries include Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey, Venezuela and Poland.

Local international restaurants will sell food, including Thai Nakorn, Raja Indian Cuisine, Delta of Venus, Queen of Sheba, the Stonegate Café and Bakery, El Taco Maniaco, Mother Earth’s Tamales and Fuji Sushi Boat.

Popcorn will be for sale, too, to benefit I-House, at a booth staffed by Rotarians from the Davis Sunset Rotary Club and volunteers from the animal rescue organization 4 R Friends.

No alcohol will be sold at the festival, but fruity “mocktails” will be made and sold by volunteers, including Suanne Klahorst.

In the education room, slam poets from area high schools will show their stuff, while a film about the lost Jews indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa will be shown.

Jane Tunay will give a talk, “Every Woman Counts,” about gender-related cancers, while Professor Emeritus Desmond Jolly will give a talk on “The Cold War with the Soviet Union and America’s Cultural Ambassadors” featuring music by Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie.

Elaine Corn will talk about how the globalization of ethnic food has made American dinner plates much more exciting.

The lineup of entertainers, speakers, dancers, singers and of food vendors and arts and crafts vendors is being updated almost daily. Go to www.internationalfestivaldavis.org to see the latest.

As the day winds down, the music will get hotter until Calvin Handy and the Jazz Patrol take the stage at about 5:30 p.m. With vocalist James Williams on hand, “they will bring the house down, no question,” said Elisabeth Sherwin, I-House executive director.

The Jazz Patrol features Handy, retired chief of police at UC Davis, on tenor sax; Robert Blake on guitar; Erik Larson on bass; and Jeff Minnieweather on drums.

For more information on the festival, call Sherwin at I-House at (530) 753-5007.

Special to The Enterprise

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