Sunday, May 10, 2009

"International Children's Festival" and "Taste of India"

Originally Posted in Common Threads Blog,
Centre Daily Times, March 28, 2007

For most people the world over, the only way to experience another country is to travel to it. Plan the travel, buy expensive tickets, and then actually get there. And when they do, they are able to soak up the sights, the atmosphere, and interact with a few people they meet. They usually get a bird’s eye view, but not the details of daily life in this other world.

However, in the United States, we are often just a neighbor away from another country. Since all of us except Native Americans have roots in other parts, our lives carry the memories and practices of countries from around the world.
In Centre County, the additional presence of Penn State makes our neighborhood even more diverse. And this diversity is bringing us the chance to have two out of this world experiences, over the next two weekends, both at the State College High School South Building.

The first one on March 31, from 2–5:30 pm is the International Children’s Festival, presented by Global Connections, and PSU’s International Student Services.
I have been taking my daughter to these since she was little, and we both get to visit more than a dozen countries in an afternoon. Experience an art from one, see how your name is written in another script, explore artifacts from another; listen to the singing from one and watch or even join in the dancing of another. More information can be found by calling 863-3927, emailing or visiting

The second event on April 7th from 5–8 pm, is the Taste of India, a Fundraiser Dinner in its ninth year, where you can experience authentic home cooked Indian food from both North and South India.

The proceeds benefit Association for India’s Development (AID), which supports local grassroots projects in India - project details can be found at and Tickets, which should be bought soon, are available at India Pavilion, Krishan Indian Grocery Store or Webster’s BookStore.

In addition to enjoying dinner, you can also get a henna design on your hand, try your talents at karaoke singing, or bid at a silent auction for Indian clothes and artifacts.

All these experiences without even leaving State College – having fun while supporting a good cause – can it get any better than this?

Both events are now part of our family tradition. Every year, more of our friends and neighbors join us, and the events are becoming part of our collective memory and history. And I remain grateful to all those who work to bring us both events year after year.

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