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Weekend events highlight international ties

LaGRANGE — The LaGrange International Friendship Exchange, L.I.F.E., will host two events this weekend, including an International Festival downtown Saturday evening.

The event will have food tasting, games for children, face painting, live music and entertainment. Martial arts demonstrations, Korean drums and Italian ballet are all slated as parts of the event. The events will be largely run by people from the countries on display or who have spent time living in the country that they are representing.

“What we are trying to do is show the diversity in our community, and expose the general public to all the differences,” said Nancy Olney, who is over the event. “… We have those communities here, and we want everyone to understand that they can get along really well.”

Organizers have enjoyed the support of LaGrange’s international community in preparing for the event and hope that in future years even more countries will be able to included in the event’s cultural display. L.I.F.E. is expecting visitors from Macon, Newnan, Columbus and other areas for the festival downtown.

“The whole weekend together will be showing our culture and talents,” said Ethyl Ault, an event organizer. “A whole group of people (will be) showing how beautiful the LaGrange area is. … This will be our first time having a whole weekend.”

L.I.F.E. is also hosting a free concert as part of the festival on Sunday at Callaway Auditorium titled “Music for Peace” in honor of 9/11. Both the concert and the festival were made possible by donations from the Troup County Chamber of Commerce, LaGrange College, and Kia.

“What I’m looking forward to is the city and children being exposed to the (different) cultures,” said former LaGrange Mayor Jeff Lukken, who has helped organize the event. “… I hope this is something they are talking about for weeks to come.”

The L.I.F.E. International Festival is free to the public and scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. on Bull Street. The free concert in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001, is set for Callaway Auditorium at LaGrange College at 7 p.m. Sunday.

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By Alicia B. Hill

Daily News correspondent

Who: LaGrange International Friendship Exchange.

What: Festival; concert.

When: Festival, Saturday 4-8 p.m.; Concert, Sunday at 7 p.m.

Where: Festival, downtown LaGrange; Concert, Callaway Auditorium.

More: Both events are free to the public.

Alicia B. Hill is a correspondent for LaGrange Daily News. Reach the news office at 706-884-7311.