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International festival returns

Emiko Siebenborn prepares a plate of Teriyaki chicken, fried rice and an egg roll at the South Georgia Okinawa Club booth during the 2009 International Festival at Riverfront Park.

Emiko Siebenborn prepares a plate of Teriyaki chicken, fried rice and an egg roll at the South Georgia Okinawa Club booth during the 2009 International Festival at Riverfront Park.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Various cultures will strut their stuff, give a taste of their food and definitely bang their drums Saturday after 4 p.m. at Riverfront Park downtown.

The 2010 International Festival will offer activities, food, music, dancing and art to entertain as well as educate people who attend.

"People might not realize it, but we have a very culturally diverse community," said Convention and Visitors Bureau official Teresa Smith, the promotions and services coordinator for the festival.

"This is the third year we are having the event. Last year we had 3,500 people here. It is an opportunity to experience other cultures that are in our community."

Community groups always manage to put on a popular show at the festival, particularly the food that will be available.

One of the popular shows is the Okinawa Club's Taiko Drum Group. The Taiko drums are often pounded to a beat that, according to the website wikipedia.org, can last between 5 and 25 minutes.

The performance typically follows a structure that speeds up significantly toward the grand finale.

"There are two stages, and we are scheduled to do two shows," said Larry Camp. "But we'll probably do more performances in breaks between. We'll also have a lot of food for people."

The other groups that promise to perform are the Ngozi African Dance Company, Ritmo Deja vu Latino Dance Group, Dougherty High School's Indian Dance, the YMCA Zumba Dance and Josette's Academy of Dance.

Food flavors will come from the cuisines of Japan, Italy, Cuba, China and Mexico.

"This is a good way to explore the cultures of other people, through food," said Ramiro Alvarez, owner of San Joe's restaurant. "We have a very diverse community in the small city of Albany. People can enjoy the food."