The Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County will host the 41st International Folk Festival Sept. 28 and 29. IFF packs an amazing amount of diversity into the two-day festival.


The longest running festival in the region gives the Arts Council an opportunity to introduce Fayetteville to the unique variety of original artistic traditions from dozens of diverse cultures. Fort Bragg brings many people to our community from all over the world so many of these cultures are represented in the Fayetteville community.


The festival kicks off Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with the Parade of Nations on Hay Street. Experience the distinct and vibrant cultures of more than 30 nations as representatives parade down Hay Street wearing their native dress.


Following the parade, head to Festival Park and take in seven unique cultural performance areas with craft and food vendors. Enjoy authentic cuisine, live performances, arts, crafts and vendors from around the world.


Saturday night’s festivities include Rocksplosion! — the ultimate rock star tribute show. It is one band with four distinct performances, representing Madonna, Tina Turner, Bon Jovi and Jimmy Buffet.


Sunday’s events begin at 1 p.m. with Praise in the Park, a performance of 10 praise and worship dance groups and 10 faith-based choirs. It concludes with the 6 p.m. performance of gospel sensation, Yael Hilton. Hilton, a Fayetteville native, has a powerful voice reminiscent of Nina Simone.


In addition to the cultural performances, the schedule includes live demonstrations from area artist, mimes, aerialists, drum circles, performance art, belly dancers, storytelling, fiddle players, magicians, balloon artists, painters, fire dancers and traditional American blues performances.


This year, the Art Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County has teamed up with the Grandstand App to provide attendees with the best festival experience. Download the app through your app store to find maps of the performance areas, lists of vendors and show times. The app lets you share information through your social media accounts, add to your list of events and add events to your personal calendar so you don’t miss a single thing. It’s available for iPhones at  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/grandstand-events/id1196052305 and for Android devices at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.grandstand.grandstandfa. For more information about the International Folk Festival visit http://www.theinternationalfolkfestival.com

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