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[Update] Willkommen to the Hopkinsville International Festival 2015

Matt Markgraf, WKMS
Hopkinsville International Festival 2014

Update: We've included  the March 12 conversation from Sounds Good with Kate Lochte, Nikki Radford and  Ellen Gilbert of the Global Education Center. In this conversation, Gilbert explains the Global Education Center and previews the musicians and dancers at the festival.

The Hopkinsville International Festival, now in its sixth year, showcases some of the cultural diversity in the region. Featuring a global village, performance on two stages, food, lectures, language courses and more, it's a weekend that brings people together in an interactive nature that allows folks to engage, says event coordinators Nikki Radford and Nina Shalom. They speak with Kate Lochte on Sounds Good with a preview.

The festival is Friday, March 13 from 4 to 8 and Saturday, March 14 from 10 to 6 at the James E. Bruce Convention Center.

Two stages will feature performance in native costumes. The main stage and the lobby stage. The lobby stage is set up to be more interactive this year and will include Tahitian dance. Near the main stage is a food area set up with international cuisine from Indian to Filipino to Caribbean, with mainstay festival fares, too.

The global village is an immersive space featuring 14 country booths, including new booths from Germany, Switzerland and the Dominican Republic. These booths are hosted by people from the countries. A story time tent has speakers tell stories in their native tongues and in English. A new space is a crash-course in different languages - nine in total. They are 20 minute classes to learn basic conversational phrases. Nina Shalom says, "It'll really help enhance your ability to connect with somebody on a different level. If you can speak a few words or phrases in their heart language it really brings down the barriers and helps to increase that connection."

The global conversations corner is now in its second year. This year, it features a presentation called "Caught Between Two Worlds." Immigration expert Sarah Flagel interviews two local residents from Latin America, one from Venezuela and another from Mexico and learns about their experience living in two worlds and assimilating in two cultures.

event flyer

Kate Lochte's Sounds Good conversation with Nikki Radford and Global Education Center's Ellen Gilbert

The Global Education Center, based out of west Nashville, has been operating for 34 years. They represent 110 artists from different countries and cultures, seeking the widest diversity of cultural representatives for family audiences and school groups. Gilbert says most of their programming is out in the communities and 18 counties in the school system.  

They're bringing musicians and dancers from around the world, beginning with a Latin Night performance by El Movimiento and Revolfusion at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 13. These groups are varied in approach and are an interactive opportunity for families. Merengue dance lessons start at 5 p.m. so everyone can dance in style. 

Other dance includes Chinese traditional dance groups sharing dances from the different minority groups in mainland China, a west African drum and dance group, an Afro-Latin dance group sharing the roots of African rhythms from South America, international folk dancers sharing European and Middle Eastern styles, a couple from Mexico sharing Mexican folkloric dance, an Aztec group sharing dances from early Mexican eras, a Polynesian group representing Hawaii and Tahiti, and local groups from Panama and the Philippines. All of this culminates in a world dance party at the end. 

Hopkinsville International Festival website

Hopkinsville International Festival on Facebook

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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