From Dayton to the World

 From Dayton to the World

36 booths representing countries from all over the world at the Dayton Convention CenterMenna Elarman Flight tickets too expensive? You can still get a glimpse of what it’s like to travel the world by attending the 47th A World A’fair international festival at the Dayton Convention Center. With booths from 36 organizations representing over 50 countries, the three-day international festival will take place May 15-17.

“We are mostly about educating people about how people are more alike than different and how to enjoy other countries,” says Rosetta Schaffner, president and marketing chairman for Dayton International Festival Inc. “Our mission is to promote understanding and acceptance through cultures,” she says.

With more than 40,000 people attending last year, the festival has become Dayton Convention Center’s largest event and is the largest international festival in the eastern half of the country.

“We are a group for all ages,” says Schaffner. “We have a children’s passport, which is really interesting.” All children are given passports when they come in and they have to find answers to a theme-related question by each country for a chance to win a basket full of international toys and gifts.

According to Schaffner, there is always something new at the festival and there is always something that will still be there to bring you back the next year. “We are famous for the different ethnic foods we have so somebody will come there and look for bulgogi from Korea or pancit from the Philippines or sauerkraut and sausages from Germany,” she says. “They know what their favorites are.” There is also always a different theme represented by the booths and this year it’s transportation.

If you’ve never been to an international festival and don’t know what to expect Schaffner promises you’ll “be surrounded by music and sound and wonderful smells of food and just a lot of fun.” And if you’ve been away from home this can be a little cure for your homesickness. “A lot of exchange students coming from different countries would come into the office and they’ll say, ‘I was just at the German booth and it was so nice it reminded me of home,’” she says.

According to Schaffner, the festival will feature booths from all over the world, including Ethiopia, Egypt, Greece, Mexico and Panama. So whether you’re curious about a culture or you’re feeling homesick you’ll find what you’re looking for. “This year the Kenyan Safari Acrobats will be performing on our stage as well as a lot of local and outside groups,” says Schaffner.

Tickets will be available starting April 10 at all Dayton area Kroger stores and Miami Valley AAA offices in advance. The cost is $5 for adults and senior citizens and $3 for youth (ages 6-18). Tickets at the door are also available for $8 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and $5 for youth. Children ages 5 or under get free admission.