Celebrating its 10th anniversary this October, the Plano International Festival will continue showcasing global cultures in an environmentally friendly way. This free, family-friendly event lets attendees experience the area’s rich tapestry of cultures through food, performances, displays and activities from around the world. To reduce landfill waste, the festival follows Zero Waste practices. And this year, a wellness fair will feature free health screenings and information.
Living a healthy lifestyle is a concern for people everywhere. The Plano International Festival is helping families get started or get some new ideas with a new wellness fair in partnership with the Plano ISD Education Foundation and Plano ISD Health Science Academy. The fair will be held adjacent to the festival at the Courtyard Theatre from 10:00am to 2:00pm on October 18.
The wellness fair will feature important screenings and information from local organizations. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano will focus on women’s health issues, including flu shots, mammograms, blood pressure screenings and educational materials. The Asian Breast Health Outreach group will offer breast health awareness information and mammography screenings for uninsured Asian women. The Collin County Community Health Center will offer diabetes screenings. Family Audiology will offer hearing screenings, and CURE will screen for HIV. In addition, the fair will feature dental and oral health information for children and adults, cholesterol testing, health risk assessments, and fitness demonstrations. Carter Blood Care will have mobile donation units on hand.
The festival will continue focusing on its core mission of building bridges across cultures. It has sworn in over 600 new citizens in the area’s only outdoor naturalization ceremony. Colorful booths display art, musical instruments, textiles and artifacts from all parts of the world. Continuous onstage performances feature everything from Aztec to African American dance. Children are encouraged to learn about other countries by writing down basic facts and getting their Festival Passports stamped at various cultural booths. They can also work on craft and educational activities in the children’s global village. A flag parade, international fashion show, and multicultural art exhibit and demos will round out the fun.
One of the festival’s biggest attractions is the food court, which over the years has featured a wide array of cuisines, including Indian, Thai, Polish, Mexican, Brazilian, Turkish, Caribbean, Puerto Rican, Mediterranean and American. After eating, attendees can drop their plates, food waste, and their utensils into organic waste bins for later composting by the City of Plano. The festival provides biodegradable plates, bowls and utensils to all food court vendors in order to minimize landfill waste. Volunteer Green Ambassadors help attendees sort their trash. This and other green efforts have helped the festival divert 82% of waste from landfill in 2013. The festival’s comprehensive Zero Waste program has won numerous awards, including the 2009, 2011 and 2012 City of Plano Environmental Star of Excellence Award; second place in the Keep Texas Beautiful 2012 Civic Organization Award; and finalist in the 2012 Green Source DFW Environmental Leadership Awards.
The festival’s variety of offerings for attendees and strong community partnerships has also helped it win the Plano ISD Diversity Advisory Committee’s 2014 Community Diversity Leadership Award.
The Plano International Festival was conceived by the Plano City Council’s Multicultural Outreach Roundtable in 2005 to showcase and celebrate the many cultures represented by the people of Plano. It is designed to promote awareness of cultural diversity and facilitate communication between all cultural groups in the community. It also serves to advance Plano’s visibility and standing as an international city. The Plano International Festival is sponsored by the Plano International Festival Corporation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.