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CultureFest brings the world to downtown Springfield

The free event is Saturday.

We don’t all speak the same languages nor have the same customs. There is a common bond to celebrating cultural diversity through entertainment, food and activities for families.

That’s why CultureFest has become one of Springfield’s most anticipated autumn events since 1997. It’s the chance to discover something new and different right in the heart of the city.

CultureFest 2013 will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Springfield City Hall Plaza. There is no cost to attend this family-friendly event.

“Since the beginning, our goal has been to celebrate and educate about ethnic and global cultures and have continued to grow the festival in attendance and activities,” said Nancy Flinchbaugh, one of the event organizers.

With two stages of entertainment, diverse food and merchandise vendors and a host of interactive events, there’s an entire season’s worth of activities in one day. There will be 18 cultures represented from all over the world and domestically.

Music will include a range of Celtic, reggae, mariachi and hip-hop to American jazz, gospel, rock and bluegrass. Some acts will play on the stage and others are strolling musicians.

Many cultures express themselves through dance, and CultureFest will feature steps from Egypt, the Philippines, West Africa, India, Ireland, the United State and others.

The children’s tent offers the chance to learn and have fun through activities. New craft-making opportunities include Chinese lanterns, Brazilian carnival masks and Mexican paper flowers.

Adult can also learn healthy exercises like Zumba and tai chi, or music with dulcimer lessons or percussion demonstrations among others.

Visitors can also explore Springfield’s unique heritage. Buses will take visitors to the Gammon House to learn about Springfield’s role in the Underground Railroad. Or tour the recently renovate Bushnell Building, which has been a Springfield fixture for 120 years.

CultureFest is supported by several area non-profit organizations, which will have information available and contribute to the activities, as well as other area businesses and groups.

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