North Penn holds 28th International Spring Festival

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TOWAMENCIN- The community gathered to showcase their unique diversity during the 28th International Spring Festival held at North Penn High School on Saturday, April 27th. It was a day for the community to show off each of their own amazing cultures and for them to learn about others as well.

“The goal of the International Spring Festival is to celebrate the diversity of the area in a fun way while sharing knowledge through art, music, food and educational activities. We promote peace and acceptance in our community and throughout the entire region,” said Dr. Francis Jeyaraj, one of the founders of the festival.

Hannah Nguyen
Volunteer members for the Ekal Vidyalaya stand that helps those who are in need in India.

The first festival ever held started as an idea by Dr. Francis Jeyaraj, a local pediatrician and Peter Manakos, the library director in which the ultimate goal was to highlight the different cultures present in the area. With the help of some volunteers, local and state government, schools, corporate sponsors, media, and non-profit organizations, the festival has flourished and become a sensation throughout the community.

For this year’s event, the planning began in September and took roughly 6-7 months to put it all together. Volunteers were divided into committees which included the Publicity Committee, Exhibits Committee, Entertainment Committee and more to organize all the work that had to be done.

“I enjoyed the work it took to get the festival to where it was on Saturday, and the countless hours we sat discussing and having fun organizing and working on it,” mentioned Ansh Sharma, a volunteer member for the International Spring festival who helped organize and oversee the volunteers.

The exhibits located in the Main Gym presented artwork, photos, books, and much more that represented each country that was featured in the festival. From artwork to jewelry and to traditional clothing, the community members got to see bits of what each country had to offer and admired each of their differences.

Local organizations, small businesses, and various performances also made their appearance in the festival in which many people were given the opportunity to discover more places to attend and even volunteer at. It was a fantastic opportunity for those who wanted to do more for the community and for themselves.

Hannah Nguyen
Handcrafted jewelry from Africa.

The festival included an abundance of delicious food from restaurants and families who came to serve the community. It allowed those to make the food they love the most and to try new things they’ve never tried before.

In the aux gym, there was a Family Health & Wellness Fair. It allowed people to enter raffles and be interactive with many activities.

“Our entertainment committee puts together an incredible display of entertainment that is showcased throughout the school on 7 different stages and our 2019 Family Health and Wellness Fair featured free interactive health exhibits including the “Strollin Colon”, resource information and health screenings from a variety of providers. Rapping About Prevention, Inc. engaged families in energizing and fun exercise. The Volunteer Medical Services Corps. of Lansdale provided Hands Only CPR education and demonstrate emergency equipment,” mentioned George Whitehair, Publicity Chair.

“I enjoyed every aspect of it from the food choices to the diversity in activities. The ISF had so many [activities] going on, you couldn’t be bored,” added Rachel Noh, one of the performers during the festival.

The financial sponsors include PDC Machines, Abington/Jefferson Health (Lansdale Hospital, PMI, AARP, Clemens Food Group, Montgomery County Community College, Xfinity, Red Knight, Einstein Healthcare Network, Harleysville Saving Bank, Univest National Bank & Trust, QNB Bank, PECO, Quest Diagnostic, VNA Foundation of Greater North Penn, Mr. and Mrs. Adel Riad, Doylestown Hospital, Pearl S. Buck, and Annette and Vince Tulio.

“Each year the festival has grown, both in the number of attendees as well as the number and scope of the participants.  We keep expanding our vision and hope to keep growing for many years to come. We also salute Law Enforcement and have the area Police Departments and the Pa. State Police participate as a further way to show unity and togetherness in our community,” said Whitehair.

Hannah Nguyen
Rachel Noh, 1st place winner from the talent show, performing in the main lobby.

Elected officials also made their appearance at the festival which included Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro, U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, U.S. Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, Montgomery County Vice Chair, Commissioner Ken Lawrence, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, Bucks County, District Attorney Matt Weintraub, Curt Dietrich, Superintendent North Penn, Pennsylvania State Senator Maria Collett, Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds Jeanne Sorg. Montgomery County Jury Commissioner Merry Woods

This year’s event ended as a complete success and was definitely an experience to remember for the community.

“I learned the importance that a multicultural and diverse community has on people. It’s very important to know how much of a difference each and every person is in our community,” said Sharma.

As for next year, the committee only encourages more people to come again to experience traveling around the world all in one day and to come and support future events.

“We will begin work in September for next year’s festival, which is scheduled for April 18, 2020.  We are also having a Gala in November,” said Whitehair.

“I would love to visit the ISF next year because it really helped me learn more about other cultures. It’s something you don’t want to miss,” added Noh.

Those who are interested about future events can visit their website at isfconnect.org for more information and tickets.

 

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