The International Festival at Stoneleigh Elementary School has several important goals: celebrate, educate, entertain and serve. This year marks the fourth time the school is hosting the event, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 29, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The school is located at 900 Pemberton Road.
Students, families, neighbors and friends in the community are invited to join in, as well as to contribute to the featured festivities. Come to learn and be entertained, or come to share your own heritage and wisdom about another part of the world.
Tables provided by the school, to be decorated with photos, art, memorabilia, snacks, crafts or activities, help explore and explain interesting facts about other regions of the globe. If you have international connections, or even if you’d just like to “adopt” a country for the day, volunteer experts are welcome. You can sign up by contacting Carolyn Barker at email@example.com.
SES parent Uyen Le is one of the festival organizers who has been part of this event for four years.
“The festival started as a way for families to celebrate diversity within the community and to give students an opportunity to research their heritage or to study a different culture,” Le said. “When we did our family project about Vietnam, it was such a valuable experience for us, because my daughter learned a lot about her family history.”
Countries to be featured — so far — include China, Slovakia, Greece, India, Peru, Nigeria, Canada, Turkey, France and the Netherlands.
“This is a great event to highlight the diversity at Stoneleigh Elementary and in the Towson community,” Barker said. “Kids and their families have a fun time learning about different countries through games and crafts as well as trying new foods and watching amazing performances from around the world.”
Featured dance and musical performances at the event are scheduled as follows:
10-10:30 a.m.: Stoneleigh Elementary steel drum band
11:00-11:20 a.m.: Chinese school dragon dance and dance team performance
11:20-11:30 a.m.: Slovakian dance
11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.: Bailes de mi Tierra — Mexican/Latin American dance group
12-12:30 p.m.: Kalinka Baltimore — Eastern European & Russian dancing
12:30-1 p.m.: Nu World Art Ensemble — African drumming, dancing and vocal performances.
New to this year’s festivities will be an on-site international service project. During the festival, families can help assemble bags of school supplies for children in need around the world. There will be collection boxes for donated supplies at the school all week, and supply donations can also be brought to the festival (preferably before 11 a.m.).
Items most in need are 16- or 24-count crayons, 2-½” erasers, blunt scissors, black or blue ballpoint pens, unsharpened #2 pencils, sharpeners, 30cm rulers, and 70-sheet lined notebooks.
Why not come by and experience something new? It could do a world of good!