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Julie Kinnaird | June 4, 2019

Discover world cultures without leaving the state! North Carolina is home to several summer festivals where participants can dance to world beats, sample new or favorite foods, play games from other continents and view artwork and crafts all while learning a bit about the diverse cultures represented and welcome in our state. Check out just a sample cultural events and short-term traveling exhibits that will be in North Carolina this summer in the list below.

Day of Guatemala
1924 Capital Blvd, Raleigh
June 8, 2019
Hosted by the Consulate General of Guatemala in Raleigh, come learn about and celebrate Guatemalan culture and food on Day of Guatemala! The event includes live Marimba, food, games for all ages, and Guatemalan artists!

Taste of Scotland: Franklin’s Scottish Heritage Festival
Downtown Franklin
June 13-16, 2019
A day of Scottish fun, food, fashion, music, clans, border collie demonstrations, crafters, Cherokee and re-enactor demonstrations, seminars, and culture for the whole family.

Durham Refugee Day
Durham Central Park, Durham
June 23, 2019
Durham Refugee Day, hosted by CWS Durham and World Relief Durham, celebrates Durham’s refugee and immigrant communities. The event honors the cultures and contributions of these communities. Attend for live music, food vendors from around the world, games, and activities for kids.

African World Peace Festival
Downtown Fayetteville
July 12-14, 2019
African World Peace festival and the gospel concert are poised at celebrating the rich diversity of the African and other indigenous cultures. Fun parts of the celebration include a showcase of African traditional dance highlighting the different cultures, fashions, music, drumming and dancing performers, arts/craft displays, special African cuisine, Health and wellness, as well as family-oriented activities and education.

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games 
Near Linville, MacRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain
July 11-14, 2019
Enjoy traditional dancing, piping, drumming, athletics, music, and Gaelic culture. Participants of all ages are welcome in the Scottish Cultural Village to learn about all things Scottish, including the Loch Ness monster. Proceeds help to establish scholarship funds for Avery County High School students to study at American colleges and universities.

Western North Carolina (various sites)
July 18-28, 2019
Folkmoot is experiencing and celebrating culture over a two-week period of music, dance, community gatherings and dinners, parades and more. Held each summer across the mountains of western North Carolina, Folkmoot features performances, parades, and workshops by more than 200 international, Cherokee and Appalachia performers from all over the world. Performers demonstrate cultural heritage through original reproduction costumes, dance, and music and engage and educate the audience in sharing culture.

LEAF Downtown AVL
Pack Square Park, Asheville
August 2-3, 2019
LEAF Downtown celebrates communities, creativity, diversity and families and showcases dynamic musical talent, immersive cultural arts performances and local handcraft and culinary artists.

Bon Odori Japanese Dance Festival
Wells Fargo Atrium and Plaza, Charlotte
August 3, 2019
Festival-goers can see Japanese dance and drum performances, a Kendo Martial Arts exhibition,
Kids Taiko, Japanese Tea Ceremony, and enjoy Japanese food and crafts.

NC Japan Festival
North Carolina State Fairgrounds, Raleigh
August 3, 2019
The Nippon Club of the Triangle is hosting the NC Japan Summer Festival! The Festival will feature a variety of Japanese cultural activities, arts, crafts, goods and traditions, including Tanabata, bonsai, ikebana, tea ceremony, calligraphy, origami and a children’s mikoshi parade. Enjoy an afternoon of authentic Japanese food, crafts, goods, displays, activities, music, and dancing!

Roanoke Island American Indian Cultural Festival and Powwow
August 3-4, 2019
A Powwow is a gathering together of American Indian people to enjoy and join in dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships and making new ones. It is a time to preserve our rich heritage, renew our thoughts of the old ways and create and awareness of our culture and heritage in the community. There will be educational exhibits, artisans and craftsmen, demonstrations, children’s activities, food, raffles and more.

Waldensian Festival
August 9-10, 2019
Since 1976, on the second Saturday in August, Valdese hosts an annual festival to celebrate the “Glorious Return” of the Waldenses from exile in Switzerland to their native valleys in the Cottian Alps of Italy in 1689. The 2019 Waldensian Festival will feature live entertainment, art, food and craft vendors, children’s activities and bocce tournaments.

UNC Charlotte’s International Festival
UNC Charlotte campus
September 21, 2019
Enjoy a marketplace over booths featuring art, crafts and costumes of cultures of over 50 nations. Many booths offer international food for sale.  Indoor and outdoor stages will showcase live music and dance. Kids of all ages will also enjoy an international game zone to participate in and learn about the cultural significance of various games. Participants can learn the rules of bocce, play a game of life-sized chess, or join in a soccer match.

La Fiesta del Pueblo
Downtown Raleigh
September 22, 2019
La Fiesta del Pueblo celebrates Latino culture, informs participants about services and issues, and encourages participants to take action in the community. The event showcases popular and folk music and art, dance performances, educational booths, children’s activities, and food from different regions of Latin America.

International Folk Festival
Downtown Fayetteville
September 27-29, 2019
The International Folk Festival celebrates the richness of the diverse cultural roots of the communities in Cumberland County. By showcasing historic artistic customs and traditions of a culture, the festival strives to foster an appreciation of the diversity while preserving the historical and traditional art forms that infuse a culture with its specific identity. Festival goers will enjoy music, dance, arts, crafts, performances and food!

Asia Fest and Dragon Boat Festival
September 28, 2019
Celebrate and share Asian culture and tradition while enjoying food, performances, exhibits, children’s activities and cheer on the winning team in the 6th annual Dragon Boat Festival at this year’s Asia Fest.

To explore all that North Carolina has to offer this summer, check out NC Festivals and Visit NC to see a line-up of many festivals and concerts in North Carolina.


Global Connections on Exhibit – Summer Museum Traveling Exhibits Visiting North Carolina

Sayler/Morris: Their World Is Not Our World
NC Museum of Art, Raleigh
Now until July 7, 2019
In Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris’s video installation Their World Is Not Our World, a photographer and her smitten assistant document the Oostvaardersplassen, a fantastical manmade “wilderness” about 20 miles from Amsterdam. In connecting with the animals that make this nature reserve their home, the artists blur the boundaries between control and freedom, highlighting the human desire for connection even to those different from us.

Remembering D-Day, 75 Years Later
NC Museum of History, Raleigh
Now until July 12, 2019
This small lobby case exhibit explores North Carolina’s role in the D-Day attacks of June 6, 1944—the largest amphibious landing in military history, supported by one of the largest airborne operations—that ultimately led to Germany’s surrender and brought a close to WWII. Visitors can see images, uniforms, maps, and other personal items belonging to the brave soldiers who helped defeat the Nazis and ensure global freedom 75 years ago.

Wim Botha: Still Life with Discontent
NC Museum of Art, Raleigh
Now until August 4, 2019
South African artist Wim Botha’s works are a study in contrasts: seductive yet displeasing, sacred yet profane, heavy yet light, and stable yet unsettled. Through his varying materials and subject matter, Botha explores issues of history, status, power, and religion with a focus on Western art history.

A Thousand Words, Photographs by Vietnam Veterans
Mountain Gateway Museum, Old Fort
Now until August 31, 2019
A Thousand Words, Photographs by Vietnam Veterans is a new traveling exhibit on loan from the NC Museum of History in Raleigh. According to the NC Museum of History, “this collection of intriguing images explores the human elements and experiences of Vietnam, with commentary by the veterans on what each image means to them. This exhibit offers visitors the chance to see how the troops themselves chose to remember their time in Southeast Asia.”

The Arts Center, Carrboro
August 1, 2019 to August 31, 2019
Presented by the Diamante Arts & Cultural Center, Herencia 2019 is an art exhibition for a group juried that celebrates the culture and heritage of North Carolina artists that identify as Hispanic/Latino/Latinx.

Lest We Forget: WWI through the Eyes of Nine
Greensboro History Museum
Now until September 8, 2019
Lest We Forget invites visitors to turn pages to learn about nine individuals connected by the Great War but whose experiences were very different. Through the stories of Maceo Alston, John Bean, Robert Campbell, Harriet Elliott, Margaret Falkener, Mary Mendenhall Hobbs, Malvin Johnson, Dorothy Hayden Conyers and C. M. Vanstory, visitors learn how the war affected people at home and abroad. The exhibit also includes glimpses into local volunteer companies, the Red Cross, the 1918 influenza outbreak and more.

Beyond Curie: A Celebration of Women in Science
NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh
Now until December 2020
Beyond Curie is a celebration of 40 of these inspiring women. Each of these female scientists has surmounted incredible odds in the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and impact. Their stories will take your breath away.

International Festival of Raleigh

March 6-8, 2020   NEW TIME OF YEAR and LOCATION!
NC State Fair Grounds, Raleigh
The 34th International Festival of Raleigh will be held in SPRING at the NC State Fairgrounds. Mark your calendars now for a 3-day celebration of global culture, cuisine, arts, dance and education. The Festival celebrates all of the diverse populations that call the Triangle home.