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Cultural heritage on parade as International Folk Festival returns downtown

Music, food, artwork, family fun on tap downtown after 2-year hiatus


After two years when the parade passed us by, it’s looping back again.

The International Folk Festival — and its signature Parade of Nations — will return to downtown Fayetteville this weekend.

For two years, the festival has been a virtual celebration because of crowd restrictions mandated by the COVID pandemic.

The festival, now in its 44th year, showcases Fayetteville’s cultural diversity with international foods, music, artwork and crafts.

More than 30 cultural groups will be represented in the Parade of Nations, paying tribute to their heritage with authentic clothing, dance and music.

The festival, sponsored by the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County, will fill downtown Saturday and Sunday.

Admission is free.

“We are back and stronger than ever,” said Bob Pinson, interim president and CEO of the Arts Council, according to a news release. “Our festival reminds us that we are stronger together and will accomplish more than we will ever do as individuals.”

The Folk Festival will kick off with musicians, artists and vendors celebrating Hispanic culture at Fiesta Latina from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Performers will include Moises Inostroza, DJ Heaven Knows, and Jimmy Roman. A food truck rodeo will be staged at the Arts Council, and a beer garden will be open on Anderson Street.

More than 50 vendors are expected to take part.

Fiesta Latina is September’s Fourth Friday gathering sponsored by Cool Spring Downtown District in partnership with Latinos United for Progress and the Arts Council.

An opening reception for the International Folk Festival’s Heritage Exhibit also is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, the Friends of Civil Affairs will sponsor the Around the World Run, raising money for a scholarship fund. The run will be in-person and virtual. The live 5K race begins at Cape Fear Botanical Garden, 536 N. Eastern Blvd. Registration opens at 6:30 a.m., and the 5K starts at 7:30 a.m.

Virtual race participants will run where and when they choose between Sept. 17 and 22.

Registration information is available at Around the World registration webpage.

A pre-parade showcase for the International Folk Festival will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, followed by the Parade of Nations from 10 a.m. to noon downtown. Next are two days of music, artwork, vendors and food centered at Festival Park from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The KidsZone will feature entertainment for children.

For more information, go to the International Folk Festival website.

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