Hudson -- The yearly blending of international cultures, food, music and dance known as the Hudson International Festival ended April 13 with a closing ceremony at the Hudson Community Festival.
"Thank you to the Hudson community for their support for the International Festival, especially to our mayor," Janet Rhodes, of Janet Rhodes Brings You Fair Trade, said April 15. "Mayor William Currin has been front and center in his support and encouragement for reaching out and celebrating the rich heritages that make up our community family -- we are privileged to have his leadership."
Currin joined dancers, merchants and participants at the ceremony which culminated seven days of international flavor. Merchants decorated their shops as world venues and Hudsonites were invited to taste the flavors of the world.
"Janet Rhodes and Penny Frese [co-chairs of the event] rally pulled this across the finish line," Karen Sue Carter, a festival committee member said. "And it was nice to have the mayor be a part of it."
Rhodes was appreciative to the help from the almost 30 merchants who participated in the festival.
"Most of the participating merchants are independent, locally-owned businesses. I know that the owners and their staff are very busy with all the details of running a business and I so appreciate the additional work that they put into lifting up cultures around the world," Rhodes said. "Eric Pickering of Epiphany was especially helpful in coordinating all the merchants."
According to Rhodes "the International Festival is important, not only for our own community and for all of us who live and work here as an act of building mutual respect, but it is also important on a global-level."
"I believe with all my heart that when we add our little effort to communicate grace and honor for cultures around the world, then world peace is increased and joy is realized and we have all been a part of creating a better world," Rhodes said. "I hope that others will join us in this effort as we are starting now to plan for next year's International Festival."
The closing ceremony included performances by dancers from the McCullough School of Irish Dance, led by Karen Stockinger, and from Shri Kalaa Mandir, The Center for Indian Performing Arts, led by Sujatha Srinivasan, Japanese poetry read by Keiko Williams and a closing address by Currin.
Committee members will schedule a meeting, open to the public to discuss the festival and what can be done to improve next year's, Carter said.
The group has also created a Hudson International Festival Facebook page, which is open to the public, to share ideas and pictures.