Fifteenth Annual International Cultural Festival set for October 16-17

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At a press conference at the Builders Mall on Wulff Road, Thursday, September 9, 2010, the Hon Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, right, and Janet Johnson Chairman of the International Cultural Festival, left, reveal details about the multi-cultural event scheduled for October 16 and 17, 2010 in the Botanical Gardens.

NASSAU, The Bahamas — The stage has been set for the 15th Annual International Cultural Festival in the Botanical Gardens from October 16 to 17, 2010.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, the event will showcase the diverse culture of countries around the world from natives living in The Bahamas.

The Hon Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration and Janet Johnson Chairman of the International Cultural Festival, revealed details about the multi-cultural event at a press conference at the Builders Mall on Wulff Road, Thursday, September 9, 2010.

“The countdown is on folks with just seven weeks to go. Patrons are encouraged to go from stall to stall and sample cuisine, fine wines, special brews, arts and craft, exciting raffle prizes and the money centre’s entertainment line-up,” Mr Symonette said.

The International Cultural Festival grew out of the idea to recognize United Nations Day, during which foreign nationals would organize themselves in a setting to display their culture and heritage.

“And so it is this October we again join member countries around the world in celebrating the United Nation’s 65 Anniversary,” Mr Symonette said.

Last year 25 countries signed on representing over 110 booths, catering to more than 30,000 festivalgoers and generating in excess of $300,000 over a two-day period.  The numbers are expected to grow at this year’s festival.

“We are of course, most pleased to continue our partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation that has been an integral part of the Festival Team from its inception,” Mr Symonette said.

“It is heartening to learn that unanimous contributions from booth holders make this festival sustainable and help to not only defray the cost of operations, but the festival was also able to honour its commitment to Bahamian youth,” he said.


Janet Johnson interviews Hon, Brent Symonette.

Mr Symonette also commended the Bank of The Bahamas for its continued commitment with the facilitation of the “cashless” environment.

“This is not only a safety mechanism, it also allows the ICF management to gauge the overall fiscal performance of the festival.”

Patrons will be able to go to any of the bank stations strategically located throughout the grounds to money for ‘festival dollars’ with which to purchase food and other items on sale.

ICF Chairman Janet Johnson announced that returning this year is the ICF Destination Spotlight, and featured will be the United States of America.

She explained that the country would extensively showcase its culture, heritage, familiar food and any other indigenous aspect of their country under a pavilion on the north lawn. They are also allowed to use video exhibits, and backdrops. A master class workshop will be conducted by the hip-hop dance troupe, Swagger Crew from Atlanta, Georgia.

Additionally, UNESCO will lend its prestige to the event through the International Art Display with works loaned from the collections of foreign nationals living here. There will be food tasting at the Celebrity Chef’s Culinary Demonstrations Pavilion and a new initiative – the International Group Travel Pavilion, where the public can sign on for group travel to some of the exotic countries that will be represented at the festival.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with an official opening at 12 noon on the Saturday.

Mr Symonette thanked volunteers like Rotary, Zonta, Girl Guides, Kiwanis and the Q’s service clubs for their involvement in the festival.  The Zonta will host the UN church service at Christ Church Cathedral on October 24.

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