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International festival to highlight diversity

ALBANY -- This weekend there will be no need to shell out money on a passport and plane ticket to experience the adventure of a foreign land -- just attend the 3rd annual International Festival in Albany.

The Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau's International Festival is planned for Saturday at Riverfront Park.

CVB Promotions and Services Coordinator Teresa Smith said this year's festival is going to be bigger and better than ever.

"The entertainment has grown this year," said Smith. "We are going to have two stages of entertainment for people to enjoy."

The festival's vendor list has also grown since last year with more than 30 vendors -- six more than in 2009 -- set to offer food and other festival favorites.

Smith said she thinks the festival's growth during the three years is due to the community's awareness of the diversity of Albany and Dougherty County.

"A lot of people would like to highlight our diversity more, and (the festival) gives them a chance to do that," said the CVB official. "The International Festival offers the opportunity to interact with other cultures. Too often we think of our region in terms of just black and white."

The festival will include cultural dance acts and entertainment from local schools and clubs, as well as plenty of children's activities and crafts.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy an antique car show at the event.

The International Festival is free and open to the public and will run from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Among the sponsors for this year's festival is Palmyra Medical Center, MillerCoors and Procter & Gamble.