Baltimore mayor previews upcoming International Festival

The sounds of steel drums echoed through the halls of City Hall on Wednesday as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake personally promoted the upcoming 16th annual Baltimore International Festival and 7th annual Mayor's Cup soccer tournament this weekend.

The interwined, city-sponsored events are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6-7, at the Poly/Western High School complex, just off Interstate 83 at Falls Road and West Cold Spring Lane.

Festival organizers estimate between 10,000 and 15,000 people will attend the free festival and tournament, according to the mayor's office.

Festival attendees will be "treated to the best sights, sounds and smells" the city has to offer, along with "unique food and fashion," Rawlings-Blake said at a press conference in the City Hall Rotunda.

The festival, also known as the I-Fest, is designed to celebrate cultural diversity. The festival's slogan is, "One World, One Beat, One Baltimore."

Scheduled performances include Korean drumming, belly dancing, Tecuanis dance, salsa lessons, a zumba class and various genres of music performances, including African, gypsy and jazz.

The soccer tournament will feature teams representing 20 countries. First-round games will take place Aug. 6, and quarter- and semi-final games, along with the championship matches, are set for Aug. 7. The teams will be competing to knock off five-year defending champion Cameroon.

Also making remarks and thanking festival organizers at the press conference were City Council President Berrnard C. "Jack" Young and Alvin Gillard, director of the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement, which is co-sponsoring the fest.

For more information about the festival and tournament, go to

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