The International Festival, a three day event in Elmer Thomas Park, will open 5pm on Friday, September 25. At 5:45pm, the Parade of Nations kicks off the Opening Ceremony on the 2nd Street Stage. There is no attendance fee or parking fee, not even for the stages! Literally, to attend, it is "a walk in the park".

The International Festival Committee is excited to announce that they will again host a Naturalization Ceremony where residents representing different countries will take the Oath of Allegiance and be sworn in as US Citizens. The festival hours are Friday 5 to 10pm, Saturday 11am to 10pm, and Sunday 12 Noon to 5pm. David Wonders, Magician and Balloon Artist returns to the festival. As a means of highlighting an appreciation of heritage and culture, all patrons, volunteers, sponsors and vendors are invited to wear their traditional dress and regalia to the festival.

Major Sponsors of the 2015 International Festival are the City of Lawton, Lawton Arts & Humanities Council and its international Festival Committee, Oklahoma Arts Council* and the National Endowment for the Arts, Friends of the Library, McMahon Foundation, and the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce - Lawton Hotel/Motel Tax Fund.

In addition to over 60 booths this year, festival patrons will have many entertainment choices through out the three days. Also, among the display vendors, the Lawton-Ft. Sill W5KS & KF5CRF Amateur Radio Clubs return to share the international love of communication.

Entertainment

The International Festival Committee is pleased to announce an updated list of Volunteer Performers are: ABKA Lionheart Karate, Aislinn & The Snake River Gang, Angela Kempe, Cameron University Pan Express, Cross Towne Groove Band, Every Generation In Christ, Filipino-American Association of Lawton/Fort Sill, Glimpses of India, Good Friends & Dulcimers, Hank Poppe Telescope Viewing, Island Paradise, John Adams Kickin Patriots & Music Express, Kealii’s Polynesian Spectacular, Kickers of Lawton, Lawton Harmony Chorus - Sweet Adelines, Mexican Folkloric Dancers, Museum of the Great Plains’ Ancient art of Suminagashi, Obscura Dance Company, Oceano Salsa Club, Ruben International Group and South Central District Square Dancers. In addition, Saturday at 5:30pm, the 77th US Army Band’s “Fuego N Klave” will perform. Then at 8:00pm, the 77th US Army Band’s "Centerfire w/ Costello's Own" and "Oozlefinch Horns Big Band" take the stage.

Schedules are available online at the festival’s official website www.cityof.lawton.ok.us/lahc/IF.htm.

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International Street Dance

The International Festival Committee is bringing back the popular International Street Dance, Saturday, Sept 26 at 8pm. The street dance features many musical genres from around the world. This very popular event plays host to a large multigenerational dance crowd!

Interactive Area

The Interactive Area will have new location under the white gazebo near the lake. The area’s unique offerings include Friday at 7pm the MacArthur High School Band’s Color Guard will perform. Each evening from dusk till 10pm there will be telescope star gazing with Hank Poppe. Saturday at 2:30pm festival patrons will learn about the Ancient Art of Japanese Marbling, making Suminagashi Art with the Museum of the Great Plains. Saturday at 3:45pm and Sunday at 4pm, the Mexican Folkloric Dancers will host "Fiesta de Cumpleaneos" (My Birthday Party) projects and the annual Kite Flight (Free Kites until supplies are gone).

Children’s Area

At the Children’s Area, there will be free activities for the young patrons sponsored by the International Festival Committee. Activities under the tent are 11am – 6pm Saturday and 12Noon-5pm and include Chinese masks, African Necklaces, Amazonian Rain Sticks, Japanese Carp Kites, USA mats, Mexican Paper Flowers, and Tahitian headdresses. Other activities outside the tent include hula hoops, giant bubbles, parachute toss and the hopping bouncy balls.

GENERAL INFORMATION – FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE

For public parking, enter the park at 3rd & NW Ferris Avenue. There will also be free shuttle service from the McMahon Memorial Auditorium Parking Lot, 801 NW Ferris Ave. to the festival site during festival hours:

Friday, Sept 25, 5-10pm
Saturday, Sept 26, 11am-10pm
Sunday, Sept 27, 12-5pm

Please note that the festival will go on rain or shine and some events may be subject to change without notice. For all events and locations on the festival grounds, the festival committee respectfully requests that all visitors refrain from bringing pets (only service animals), bicycles, skateboards and alcoholic beverages. Festival entertainment schedules and line up may be subject change. Call 58l-3470 or 58I-347I for more information or visit the website www.cityof.lawton.ok.us/lahc.

FESTIVAL VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Besides having fun, volunteering offers opportunities to meet new people, gain valuable experience for resumes or college applications, provides community visibility for organizations or businesses as well as great bonding experience for families and groups. To find out more about various volunteer activities, call the Arts & Humanities Div. office at 581-3470 or 581-3471.

*The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The Council’s mission is to lead, cultivate and support a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education and economic vitality for all Oklahomans. The Council provides more than 500 grants to over 300 organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state’s arts and cultural industry, and manages hundreds of works of art in the public spaces of the state Capital.

For more information, visit www.arts.ok.gov.