Event celebrates ethnic diversity

Dedra McDowell

“Bienvenidos!”

“Guten tag!”

“Konichiwa!”

You may be welcomed in many ways at the 13th Bowling Green International Festival at Fountain Square Park on Saturday.

The International Festival will showcase diverse cultures through performances, demonstrations, exhibits, authentic ethnic foods and merchandise vendors. The festival will begin at 9 a.m. with a kick off parade and will last until 8 p.m.

The goal of the festival is to promote and celebrate ethnic and cultural diversity and to encourage international residents of Bowling Green to participate in the community.

Gustavo Obeso, a Spanish instructor at Western, will be a judge for the opening parade.

He said he was amazed at the number of cultures represented when he attended last year.

“You look at Bowling Green and how small this little town is, and it is a perfect example of the melting pot of America,” he said.

Obeso said he hopes the festival will spark curiosity about the differences in world cultures, particularly those that aren’t represented at the festival.

“When I start to speak Spanish people say, ‘Oh, you’re from Mexico,'” Obeso said. “There are 22 countries that speak Spanish, not just Mexico. Some people just don’t know.”

Western’s department of modern languages and intercultural studies will present seven short films during the event, many of which have never been viewed in North America.

Laura McGee, a professor in the department, is responsible for bringing the films to Kentucky.

She said she saw the films at several festivals she attended while in Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. The films were created by film and television school students.

“Many of the films are about communication and acceptance,” McGee said.

Reach Dedra McDowell at [email protected]