Back for its 45th year, the three-day festival of food, dancing and more culture runs May 18-20, and the weekend is packed full of entertainment and educational offerings that showcase the diverse backgrounds present in the Dayton metro area. If you’re still on the fence about clearing your weekend to go, maybe we can persuade you.
1.🌍It’s arguably the biggest entertainment bang for your buck. At less than $10 at the door for adults and even cheaper for seniors and children under 5 for three days of dancing, a variety of food offerings, and the most creative way to refresh your geography knowledge, we really shouldn’t have to twist your arm on this one.
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2.🌍The cultural dances are a must-see. There’s so much you can learn about a new culture through traditional dances, and many local cultural groups put on inspiring displays of grace and strength. Cincinnati-based Lebanese troupe Alhambra brings traditional solo dancing — like belly-dancing — to the festival for the first time, and the world class Kenya Safari Acrobats return to astound you with gravity-defying moves. Check out the entertainment schedule here.
3.🌍Learn about a new culture. Are you an eighth Serbian? Maybe your in-laws are South African? A World A’Fair is the perfect event to connect (or reconnect) with a part of your heritage that might have been neglected. Many of the organizations involved have local groups that have great resources for learning languages, dances or just connecting with people.
4.🌍Travel in style with the Beer Passport. Available only on Friday evening, it’s the best way to get your fill of new international brews. Sample 2-ounce brews from 12 countries — from Mexico to Scotland to the Philippines — then vote for your favorite.
5.🌍Pet Adoption Fair. The Humane Society of Greater Dayton will be stationed in the lobby, with many of their fun, friendly and furry pets who are available for adoption. Stop by and visit, receive information about how you might adopt, volunteer, donate or otherwise help these wonderful animals in need of good homes.
6.🌍Encourage local youth to embrace their heritage. What’s more adorable than children proudly displaying their families’ culture? The Junior Ambassador pageant for children ages 7-11 takes place Friday night, and is sure to involve lots of cute smiles and tiny dancing feet.
7.🌍Bring the whole family. Kids join in on the fun with the Passport program, where they receive a small booklet containing a page for each country/ethnic organization, with a photo from the organization and a question having to do with this year’s festival theme. Take your child to each country’s booth to learn the answer and have their passport stamped for a chance to win a prize. Look for the heart balloon at each booth to find the passport stamper. There’s also a children’s area with activities and games.
8.🌍So. Much. Amazing. Food. Czech pastries. Bratwurst. Baklava. Tiramisu. Tabouli. And of course, the fan favorite, Netherlands’ Appelflappen. Mouth watering yet? Here’s a list of the offerings.
9.🌍Take home souvenirs without leaving your town. Buy some authentic merchandise; tell your friends you actually bought it abroad. How could they ever doubt your claim to have visited Warsaw when they see your Boleslawiec Polish pottery?
10.🌍Preserve Dayton’s melting pot. Attend the festival, and support the preservation of cultures and heritages in the Dayton area. Dayton International Festival, Inc., a non-profit and the main organizer for A World A’Fair, supports a variety of local cultural organizations, which together boost Gem City’s cosmopolitan areas and events year-round.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: A World A’fair
WHEN: 5 p.m.- 11 p.m. Friday, May 18;11 a.m.- 11 p.m. Saturday, May 19; 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sunday, May 20
WHERE: Dayton Convention Center., 22 E. 5th St., Dayton