A Dayton tradition for over 40 years, Soin International and the Dayton International Festival, Inc (DIFI) present A World A’Fair May 16-18 at the Dayton Convention Center. It started in the 1970’s and has been celebrating diversity in food, music, dance, ethnic dress, exhibits and cultures from around the world. The International Festival, was the vision and dream of Father Gabriel J. Rus, SM (1910-1979) and Aldona Ryan of Lithuania. With the help of many others, including the then director of the Dayton Council on World Affairs, Mrs. Maxine Stucke, the idea of an ethnic celebration was formed. From 1973 through 1977, the World A’Fair was a committee of the Dayton Council on World Affairs. In 1978 under the supervision of Legal Counsel, Mr. Tom Folino, A World A’Fair was incorporated as a non-profit organization, known as the Dayton International Festival, Inc. It has grown to include the cultures of more than 30 participating groups. Cheryl Castro is the 2014 Honorary Chairperson. She was awarded this honor for over 30 years of support to DIFI, as well as her willingness to serve in a variety of chairperson and officer roles during this time. Beginning with her involvement with A World A’Fair at age five, dancing with the Philippine American Society Folk Arts, Cheryl was also crowned Miss A World A’Fair in 1997, and after graduating from the DIFI Youth Group, she became a delegate to the DIFI Board of Trustees. Cheryl currently serves as the Informal Entertainment Chairperson, a role she has maintained since 1999.
A Celebration of Festivals is this year’s cultural theme. All of the participating countries will feature popular festivals of their region at their cultural booths. Some of the festivals will no doubt be familiar to you, but many may not be. Take time to discover what other cultures think is important enough to celebrate with a festival.
Friday night even features a special festival within the festival for beer lovers. For just $10 you can get a 2 oz sample of beer from each of the 12 participating countries-Czechoslovakia, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Scotland and the South Slavs…PROST!. Once you’ve made it ’round the world vote on your favorite and receive a small souvenir token. Only 500 beer Passports will be sold.
“A World A’Fair promotes the rich cultural diversity that exists in our community and embraces the aspects which make us unique”, said Raj Soin, Chairman of Soin International and longtime festival sponsor. “This event provides an opportunity for everyone in the greater Dayton area to appreciate the differences among people of various cultures and experience their own cultures, history and traditions.”
New this year… Performers from Burundi. After nearly two years of interviews and filling out forms, DIFI is finally able to present 37 drummers and dancers from Burundi. This promises to be a special treat for both young and old. You can also see Zabava, a dance group with ethnic roots in the Russian ex-republics, a Flamenco dancing group, Kitka Ensemble, and a Bulgarian group, in addition to our own member organization performers. In addition, the Dayton Chess Club will have chess games, tournaments, demonstrations and information available throughout the three-day festival. These activities will be open to the public to watch and in many cases to play, and include some special activities for children.
Back by popular demand…The Kenyan Safari Acrobats on our formal stage. Also back are the well known passports, which are sponsored by Premier Health Services. Children can have their “passports” stamped as they travel from booth to booth with a chance to win prizes donated by the member organizations of DIFI. Also returning this year will be a Naturalization Ceremony celebrating new citizens, which will take place on Saturday, May 17.
The Health Fair, presented by the Asian American Council of Dayton and CareSource, is back by popular demand with expanded days and hours. Available to all attendees on Saturday, May 17 from 11am-7pm and Sunday, May 18 from 11am-6pm, visitors will be offered free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, ADHD, HIV, depression and anxiety. Educational information and workshops on dental care will also be provided. There will also be an opportunity to register as a bone marrow donor.
The ever popular and expanded Children’s Area, which is sponsored by Dayton Children’s, will once again be available for families to participate in games and engage in crafts.
A World A’Fair is open to the public on the following dates and times:
Friday, May 18 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 19 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 20 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
There is a fee for attendance with tickets available at the door for the following prices:
Adults $8.00 Senior Citizens $5.00 Youth (6-18) $4.00
Advance sale tickets are available at AAA, La Llama Place, Siebenthaler’s and Krogers and offer discounts for the adult and youth tickets. For more information including the schedule of all performances, visit www.aworldafair.org.
DMM will be giving away 2 family four packs of tickets for A World A’Fair. Just like this post and fill out the form below for your chance to win! If you’d like to influence the judges, leave a comment about why you should win![form 55 “DMM Contest Entry – Generic”]