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St. Paul holds 'Festival of Cultures'

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Oakland Elementary School celebrated their annual Festival of Culture on Oct. 17. Students and their families were invited to a potluck dinner featuring dishes from different cultures, followed by an evening of fun games and entertainment.

The Festival of Culture began as a service-based program in 2007. Organizer Lisa Sutherland put together the event to introduce families to helpful organizations in the area, such as Mt. Rogers, Social Services and The Lions Club. Since then, she said, it has evolved into a more festive and cultural event, where families are encouraged to celebrate and share their family traditions.
Last year, the event drew more than 200 people, according to Tonya Gibson.
The festival is put on each year now with help from English as a second language teachers and tutors from all 10 Carroll County Schools. The activities promote learning about the cultures of a variety of countries, including Honduras, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, El Salvador, Germany, Thailand, Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, China and the United States.
After eating in the cafeteria, students went to the gym for “Games Around the World.” Later, grade schoolers participated in a music program, where they performed “Oh Señor Don Gato,” “La Horas” and “Checki Morena Checki.”
Each family received a goody bag, and each child was allowed to pick out one free book to take home.