COLUMBIA, S.C. – The whole world is starting to come out from under the shadow of pandemic, and soon you’ll see that happen right here in Columbia.
After a year off, members of our state’s multicultural communities will gather for the 2021 Columbia International Festival, at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, June 5 and 6.
Public health will be just as much on the minds of organizers as sharing cultures. The festival will be scaled down for social distancing, with some activities in the open air, and the crowd capacity will be monitored. For the consideration and safety of guests and participants in the festival, a mask mandate will be strictly enforced indoors. All measures to prevent spread of Covid-19 will be observed.
Festival Director Dr. Raj Aluri says hundreds of people are busy making preparations for the 2021 celebration, which will be “a combination of the missed 25th anniversary and our 26th year.” Since 1996, tens of thousands of people have enjoyed the annual celebration of the music, culture, food and performing arts of the various cultures, nationalities, races and language groups represented in South Carolina.
Participants celebrate finding a prosperous new home in South Carolina, which has drawn people from every corner of the Earth to come find a better place to live and work.
At the 2021 festival, there will be exhibits reflecting a hundred world cultures, so this event is still the biggest celebration of “Unity in Diversity” in South Carolina. Tens of thousands of immigrants from scores of countries live and work in the area, and of course almost everyone can trace his or her heritage to another part of the world. “People are excited about the return of this event!” said Dr. Aluri.
The attractions at the festival will include:
International Food Court (Saturday & Sunday) – Sample the exotic flavors of foreign cuisines from around the world. You’ll come back for more!
Cultural Entertainment – Both days, groups representing many countries will bring cultural performances to the festival stage.
International Fashion Show – See beautiful traditional modes of dress that distinguish cultures from around the globe.
International Bazaar – Shop for authentic clothing, crafts, jewelry and souvenirs imported from a wide variety of nations.
Cultural Demonstrations – Learn how to do something new – make origami, use chopsticks, write in another script, play other cultures’ games, say “hello,” “thank you,” “goodbye,” or count in another language.
Parade of Nations – Traditionally dressed representatives from many countries proudly present their home countries’ flags at the 2 p.m. Saturday parade.
To see what the festival is really like, check out the videos on our YouTube channel, particularly this one showing footage of the 2019 festival: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtC5ZcYt_u62t5iIcvfH8Ag/featured
Dr. Aluri and his staff invite you to “Come see, taste and experience the world!” on June 5 and 6 at the State Fairgrounds. Admission is $7, and parking will cost $5. Children under 18 get in free with a ticketed adult. All military personnel get in free with a military ID. Saturday’s admission also allows free re-entry on Sunday.
To learn more about the event, visit https://www.cifonline.org/.
About the Columbia International Festival
The Columbia International Festival showcases the music, culture, food and performing arts of the various cultures, nationalities, races and language groups represented in South Carolina. Since 1996, the event has brought together all of the area’s international communities to build better relations between various groups and with the South Carolina community at large. For more information, visit https://www.cifonline.org/.