By Konstantine Fekos
Food, fellowship and fun are expected to culminate in the fifth annual International Festival on Sunday, hosted by local nonprofit Meadville Cooperative Preschool in the interests of multicultural education.
While entertainment will focus on children predominantly, Meadville Cooperative Preschool Director Tracy Albaugh guarantees this free public event has enough appeal for all ages.
“We have a variety of wonderful activities to entertain adults and children alike,” she said. “We’re also excited to have comedian and mother Tammy Pescatelli to emcee the event.”
The 2013 International Festival will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Schultz Dining Hall on Allegheny College’s campus and will feature several new events, including a karate demonstration by White’s Martial Arts Learning Center in Meadville and Irish dances performed by the Rince Na Tiarna School of Erie.
“The Meadville Cooperative Preschool students and families will also sing a song together,” Albaugh said.
Local businesses and restaurants donated food for the event as well as raffle items that will be put up for auction.
More than a dozen countries from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America will be represented mainly by local volunteers through interactive booths and arts and crafts.
“I do the Caribbean booth,” Albaugh said. “The booths feature very meaningful, child-centered materials. There are pirate themes; the children can explore seashells and different books.”
The overall themes of the festival tie into lessons taught in the preschool, including cultural acceptance and discovering similarities between ethnic backgrounds by learning about societal differences.
“As different as we may be, in language or clothing, a lot of things we do are the same,” Albaugh said. “We all have families and routines, we all go to school; this is what we teach the children. We’re more the same than we are different.”
Albaugh expects the festival to attract at least 400 people, on par with last year’s numbers.
“There’s no charge to the public, but we do accept and appreciate donations,” she said. Proceeds will benefit the preschool’s private scholarship fund, for which enrolled families are eligible.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to expose people to different cultures and diversity with our hands-on philosophy,” Albaugh said.
The Meadville Cooperative Preschool currently serves 75 children throughout Crawford County.
Event organizers will also be promoting their annual enrollment drive for the 2013-2014 academic year with an open house on March 20.
“Interested families are encouraged to attend that as well,” Albaugh said. “Families can re-enroll, and we will have the opportunity for tours and new enrollment.”
You can go
The 2013 International Festival, a free public event, will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Schultz Dining Hall on Allegheny College’s campus and will feature several new events, including a karate demonstration by White’s Martial Arts Learning Center in Meadville and Irish dances performed by the Rince Na Tiarna School of Erie. The event is hosted by local nonprofit Meadville Cooperative Preschool in the interests of multicultural education.