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LIFE Festival draws crowd to downtown

LaGrange’s international community shared food, culture and art over the weekend with a series of events through LaGrange International Friendship Exchange’s annual festival.

On Friday, LIFE’s annual high school art show took place at the Cochran Gallery in downtown LaGrange.

“People are so excited about being part of the festival,” Ault said. “[Friday] night went extremely well with the art contest at the Cochran Gallery.”

Maggie Blakely, a senior at LaGrange High School, received first place for her untitled work. Harris County High School tenth grader Molly Brown came in second with “Sound of Waves,” and LaGrange Academy senior Megan Allen received third for “Shadows.” Callaway High School junior Kelly Lin received an honorable mention for “China.”

However, that was just the beginning of the festivities. On Saturday afternoon, locals and visitors from near and far filled Main Street to hear musical acts, taste food and play games at booths representing 22 countries. The event featured Peruvian dancers, Turkish music, Korean percussion and Indian Bollywood dance.

“It is a mingling of learning about different countries, and people have become friends through this,” Ault said. “Couples have met. They look forward to this now to see the people, so I think it is about developing friendship.”

Ault said the city’s downtown merchants have been great about working with the festival, and the festival has in turn helped draw more people to downtown.

“The shop owners are wonderful, and they enjoy having the festival here,” Ault said. “Many times after the festival is over, they will go into different restaurants, so it is good for tourism.”

Finally, the festival ended on Sunday night with LIFE’s 12thannual September Concert: A Celebration of Peace Through Music. The annual concert is part of a national grassroots charity effort in response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The program aims to bring the community together through music while reaffirming hope for peace and celebrating humanity.