Hudson -- The flags of foreign countries will wave downtown as the city celebrate the fourth annual Hudson International Festival April 10-13.
Hudson's International Days offers visitors a passport to more than 30 businesses, each one representing a different country with store decorations, music, flags, maps, interesting facts, games and quizzes. Host "countries" will have food and beverages to sample. A grand prize drawing will be April 13 for those who visited all participating countries. Other drawings and prizes are offered by merchants depending on the number of stamps (10 or 20) in a passport.
An updated list of merchants participating in the International Festival can be found at www.merchantsofhudson.com.
The Merchants of Hudson teamed with Community First in 2011 to sponsor the festival as a project to support local merchants during the off season, according to Janet Rhodes of Janet Rhodes Brings You Fair Trade.
The opening ceremony will be 5 p.m. April 20 at the Hudson Library and Historical Society with a proclamation by Mayor William Currin in the rotunda. A Parade of Flags and international costumes led by accordionist Gerard Dusa will march through First and Main to the Bandstand on the Green.
Students of any age are invited to participate and should gather outside the library at 4:30 p.m. International dress is encouraged by not required.
A Run For Our Children will begin at 8:30 a.m. April 12 for the 1 Mile Kids Run and 9 a.m. for the 5K. The race begins at Seton Catholic School and continues through Hudson Springs Park Trail before returning to Seton. The online registration site is available at www.active.com/hudson-oh/running/distance-running-races/run-for-our-children-5k-and-1-mile-kids-run-2014.
Public education in Zambia is not free, and students are encouraged to support "A Buck for Ubumi" initiative by earning $1 to donate to the Ubumi Transit Home and the Ubumi Community School during the Hudson International Festival.
In 2009 the Hudson School children requested the city adopt the Ubumi Transit Home in Kitwe, Zambia. The festival helps educate adults and students about foreign cultures and promote world peace, Rhodes said.
All of the money is sent directly to Ubumi Africa the Zambian NGO which operates the Transit Home, and is used to pay the costs of enrolling the orphans in the neighborhood government elementary school. It helps defray the costs for other orphans who live with relatives or have outgrown the Transit Home.
Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing