Mini-Flood 47: Festival of Nations

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photo by Sharon Keeler

The Festival of Nations, sponsored by the International Institute of St. Louis, is an annual two-day event geared toward celebrating the diversity of the city and beyond. Held in Tower Grove Park, the Festival draws more than 125,000 to song and dance performances, cultural demonstrations, a wide variety of food from various ethnicities, handmade goods, and more.

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photo by Pat Dyer

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photo by Dan Henrichs

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photo by Dan Henrichs

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photo by Jackie Johnson

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photo by Diane Piwowarczyk

For over 100 years, the International Institute has been celebrating diversity and preparing immigrants for better futures in St. Louis.  Since at least 1920, the Institute has organized public events that demonstrate the vast gifts that these individuals bring with them to the region, gifts that no doubt enrich the cultural experience of living in this city.  The Festival of Nations is one such event, and is their largest annual fundraiser.

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photo by Jackie Johnson

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photo by Dan Henrichs

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photo by Dan Henrichs

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photo by Dan Henrichs

The decision to base the Festival out of Tower Grove Park is appropriate, both for the close proximity to the Institute (now located in Tower Grove East) and the melting pot of peoples and businesses along South Grand.

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photo by Cara Mengwasser

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photo by Dan Henrichs

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photo by Diane Piwowarczyk

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photo by Dan Henrichs

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photo by Pat Dyer

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photo by Jackie Johnson

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photo by Diane Piwowarczyk

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photo by Pat Dyer

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photo by Sharon Keeler

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photo by Dan Henrichs

No matter the broader issues facing the region, for two days every year, this Festival brings together St. Louis in a celebration of the differences of its people -wonderful distinctions that should make us proud to be neighbors in this Gateway to the West.  German, Italian, Irish, French, African, Native American, East Asian, Middle Eastern, Bosnian, Croatian, Syrian; we are a city that continues to provide opportunities for those seeking shelter or a new start, and our history is uniquely defined by those that have come from places beyond, both near and afar.  Whatever your politics, that’s a tradition worth celebrating!

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