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May 25, 2004 > International Festival will Debut in June

International Festival will Debut in June

by Susana Nuñez

As summer approaches, festivals, fairs, and community events celebrate long days and warm weather. This year, a new event can be added to the calendar. The International Festival of the Arts and Culture, to be held at Newark Jr. High, will debut June 19 and 20 as a free celebration of our diverse community.

F.U.N. Rotary Club President Anny Mitra is heading the event and has decided to focus on nine ethnic groups: American, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Mexican. The festival will include food, entertainment, and arts and crafts from these cultural backgrounds. Contests, games, drawings and special Father's Day activities are being planned as well.

Most performances feature local citizens but a few will travel many miles in support of the festival's debut. Entertainment will include two demonstrations in the art of self-defense - one by the Official Krav Maga Training Center's Dave Moeller, and another of Chinese Kung-Fu by the O-Mei Kung-Fu Academy. Chan Chal Sahai and her classical Indian dance group will perform dances from India. Shruthi Swara laya organization leader Kay Subrahmanyam will be performing Asian and Indian dancing, as well. The well-known Union City O Nami Taiko (drum) group will also perform.

Ling Wang, a member of the Dancers Association of China and a principle dancer of the Shang-Hai Dance and Drama Institute, will also be at the event with her students. Wang is well known in Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore and has performed in France, Germany, and Canada. Wang also won Chinese National Choreographic Awards in 1981, 1982, 1986, and 1987.

Crafts booths will demonstrate international art and allow festival goers to take a shopping trip around the world within hours. An art gallery will be set up for the event. Diane LaMountaine, a member of the Union City Arts Council, is assisting the search for paintings and will present many local artist works at the event.

More sponsors and booth vendors are needed. The Rotary Club also needs more volunteers to help make this event a success. For more information, contact Anny Mitra: (510) 489-0579.

International Festival of the Arts and Culture
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, June 19-20
Newark Jr. High School
6201 Lafayette Avenue, Newark

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