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Weston festival features a carnival of cultures

Weston festival features a carnival of cultures

By Nicole T. Lesson
Staff Writer

October 15, 2001

In the spirit of global awareness, some Tequesta Trace Middle School students read aloud children's books in several languages to the crowds that packed Sunday's Around the World in Weston festival.

"I wanted to do this so that some people can learn about the language and as they start to learn, it could become a more fluent language in the world," said Pascale Fils-Aime, 13, a National Junior Honor Society member who read in Creole.

The fourth annual event featured the art, music, food and dance of about 40 nations at the Weston Town Center, its new home.

Ximena Uribe, chairwoman of the free festival, said the event offered a respite from the anxieties brought on by the terrorist attacks.

"I was asked about the timing of this event and I think it's a good time," she said. "There is no better way to present different cultures."

Middle-schooler Negean Mohi, who is Iranian, read her childhood favorite, The School, in Farsi and then translated it to English.

"My mom would read this book to me before I went to bed," said Negean, 13, of Sunrise. "By speaking a different language, I feel special and different."Booths were filled with crafts, jewelry and clothes from several countries.

Alla Parsons, who recently moved to Weston, had her hair braided at an African booth.

"I've wanted to do this for a long time," said Parsons, a Russian native. "There are lots of things to see here, to buy and nice music."

A large inflated globe surrounded by local students' artwork was the centerpiece of the festival.

Throughout the day, children continued the motif as they played with smaller globes that were given out for free.

"This is my first time here for the festival," said Cherylee Mcullough, of Davie. "It's good for the children."Festivalgoers enjoyed international foods including crepes, arepas, hot dogs, pizza and Jamaican patties. And restaurants at the Town Center also served food.

Two stages featured music acts including Las Aztecas, a Mexican mariachi group; Fire in the Kitchen, an Irish band; and the Caribbean sounds of the Bahamian Junkanoo Band, whose members marched down Mainstreet of the Town Center.

In a showing of unity, children participated in a release of bubbles, which replaced the butterflies used in past festivals.

And as a test of global aptitude, festivalgoers competed in a geography contest for prizes.

Event organizers said they expected a turnout of 6,000, double that of last year.

Nicole T. Lesson can be reached at nlesson@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7920.

Copyright © 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Copyright © 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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