Seeing (more) Green at the International Festival, and more!

Thanh -- September 15th, 2008

The 11th Annual Harrisonburg International Festival will take place Saturday September 27 at Hillandale Park and this year its seeing lots more Green. “The Green Village” is one of the newest additions to the festival. It will be found near the Art Activities for Everyone area and across from the Main Stage and foods from around the world. The Green Village will feature a variety of displays on climate change, composting, energy, green home construction, local food systems, recycling, transportation, and water quality.

The International Festival was started 11 years ago by Dale Diaz with Common Ground and Amy Header from Refugee Resettlement with inspiration from an intercultural group had monthly potlucks to brainstorm ideas to make our community a more welcoming place.  Vaunda Brown, Festival Co-Coordinator shared with me:

[At] one meeting a new Russian immigrant Vladimir Rossashansky had the idea of having a fair or flea market type event for immigrant artists and business owners to showcase their goods and talents. Dale Diazwas at the table and immediately had the idea for the International Festival and was the founder of our event and lead it for the first 3 years. Our planning committee still works the same way and we end each meeting with a brain storming time and build on each others ideas.

The first International Festival had about 1,000 visitors and last year they estimated 6,500 visitors! The Festival continues to be a collaborative effort between various members of the community and community organizations. Partners include many schools, universities/colleges, nonprofits, and businesses. The event is FREE and open to the public.

Throughout the years, Festival oraganizers have supported many green efforts. The first Festival featured “Have a Heart”, which is a community art sculpture made of trash that can’t be recycled. “Have a Heart” returns to the Festival this year. Eleven years ago Festival organizers translated the City’s recycling brochure into Spanish, which is made available to residents. They print their event programs on recycled paper and recycle (reuse) them throughout the day – over 3,000 programs are given out, collected, re-given and then collected again for visitors. This year, Festival organizers are also providing recycling bins for plastics and cans. They will have trash units which will have a trash can, large recycling box for plastics and a city bin for cans. There will be 6 units in the main stage area and they will have volunteers to help sort and teach visitors how to prepare items for recycling. EMU will have their two recycle bikes collecting during the day.

Of course its not just about being Green – there will be great food vendors, dance performances, international fashion shows, great music, the world bazaar, activities for children and lots more! And of particular interest to hburgnews readers, Brent Finnegan’s documentary “Latino Underground” will be showing at a new event “Film at the Festival” along with a short film titled “Laughter, the Universal Language.”

For more information or to be a day-of-event-volunteer contact Vaunda Brown at vaundabrown [at] aol [dot] com or visit

4 Responses to “Seeing (more) Green at the International Festival, and more!”

  1. Laura says:

    This is one of the best events in our community. Thanks so much to everyone who works so hard to make this happen. Can’t wait to attend!

  2. finnegan says:

    I’ve enjoyed the last several festivals. Good food.

    Here’s hoping for good weather, as well.

  3. Tina says:

    Thanks, Thanh, for the nice write-up focusing on the green events at the International Festival.

    I’ve been a volunteer for five years, and am always amazed on the day of the event at the diversity this community has to offer. We’re really excited about “greening” the festival a bit this year, and being able to provide educational opportunities as well as a day of fun, food, and music.

  4. Renee says:

    Thanks for the info, Thanh! It’s neat to hear that there will be educational booths on a variety of environment-related topics. The “Green Village” is a really cool idea.

    I’m also glad to hear there will be recycling bins there!

    I enjoyed last year’s Int’l Festival and I hope to attend this year!

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