The Columbia International Festival returns Saturday. Here are 6 things to check out

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Jeff Blake/The State file photo

A weekend of multicultural food, music, performing arts and more awaits during the annual Columbia International Festival this weekend.

The event kicks off Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds. The festival will continue from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

This year, festival organizers will highlight Asia and the Pacific Islands in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Ukraine will return as one of the featured national exhibitors and performances on the stage.

Tickets will cost $7 for admission and another $5 for parking. Children under 18 years old will get free admission, as well as anyone in the military with proper identification. A $2 coupon is available online at for adult ticket purchases.

Parents and adult siblings of students attending all Title 1 schools will be admitted for free with the student’s admission to the Columbia International Festival.

Since 1996, the Columbia International Festival has celebrated various cultures, nationalities, language groups and more, according to a press release. More than 100 cultures from around the world are represented at the annual, family-friendly event.

“It’s the largest gathering of its kind in the state and probably the Southeast region,” said Dr. Raj Aluri, Columbia International Festival Director. “The festival is the perfect way for people to travel the world and experience rich, diverse traditions without using a passport.”

Here are the six main attractions at the two-day festival.

  • International Food Court — Sample the exotic flavors of foreign cuisines from around the world (Saturday & Sunday).

  • Cultural Entertainment — Cultural groups representing many countries will perform on the festival stage.

  • International Fashion Show — See beautiful traditional clothing that distinguish cultures from around the globe.

  • International Bazaar — Shop for authentic clothing, crafts, jewelry, and souvenirs imported from a wide variety of nations.

  • Cultural Demonstrations — Learn something new – make origami, use chopsticks, write in another script, and more.

  • Parade of Nations — Watch traditionally dressed representatives proudly present their home countries’ flags during the annual parade on Saturday at 2 p.m.

For more information about the Columbia International Festival, visit

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