Event to be an international affair

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2017

LaGrange’s international community will come together on Sept. 7 to share food, culture and friendship originating from around the globe on Main Street.

The LaGrange International Friendship Exchange will feature booths with information on more than 20 countries.

“The festival is to bring awareness to all the different cultures that are in the Troup County area and the beauty of these cultures and how they enrich our society here,” said organizer Nancy Olney. “It is nice that word has gotten out and even other cities want to become involved with us.”

Each of the booths will be hosted by individuals with ties to both Troup County and the country that the booth represents. Many of the volunteers at the festival hosted booths last year and are excited to be able to share even more about their culture this year.

“We had a great time (last year),” said Karishma Lakhwani, who will be representing India again this year. “We had a lot of people ask us about our customs and religion, and we explain it to them.”

Many of those participating in the festival plan to wear traditional clothing and serve popular foods from the countries they represent.

“I’m going to be there in full Tibetan costume, with prayer flags and everything Tibetan in our booth,” said Anahata Iradah, who will be representing Tibet. “We’ll probably be cooking momos, which is the most favorite dish of Tibet.”

Games, face painting and other fun aspects of the event are meant to appeal to kids, who organizers noted had a great time at last year’s festival.

“The kids enjoy traveling through all the different booths and checking out all the different things they have to offer, so it was a nice experience for the kids and the parents,” Lakhwani said.

The festival pulls together the community by celebrating the friendships and different cultures within the community.

“America is a bit of a hodgepodge of different things,” Iradah said. “It’s not really one thing, whereas the Tibetan culture is its own thing, so it is very important to represent it and stay proud within it.”

The festival was a huge hit last year, with hundreds of people from LaGrange and the surrounding area coming out for the festival despite the unusually warm weather. The festival was moved from Bull Street to Main Street for this year’s festival, so that if another surprise heat wave hits, the festival will be in the shade.

The LaGrange International Friendship Exchange Festival will take place on Sept. 9 from 3 to 7 p.m. on Main Street. The event is free to the public. For more information, check out the LaGrange International Friendship Exchange on Facebook.