Ethnic Support Council organizes an international festival in Longview on Saturday | Local

After a two-year hiatus, the Ethnic Support Council is hosting its 30th annual International Festival at Lower Columbia College on Saturday, with a focus on supporting war-affected refugees in Ukraine.

The organization did not hold the festival in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the LCC Student Center. The family-friendly event celebrates the region’s growing diversity and includes multicultural performances, ethnic food stalls, vendors, information tables and fundraising for Ukrainian refugees, according to the Ethnic Support Council.

Aristo Healthcare will be offering COVID-19 vaccines during the event. According to the Ministry of Health, anyone aged 5 and over is eligible to receive their first round of vaccinations and a booster dose five months later.

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Music and dance performances by several groups are scheduled throughout the day on the indoor stage and outdoor pavilion, including:

  • No Noe Ka Mauna Hula, Hawaiian dances,
  • Folk Ballet of Southwest Washington, Dances of Mexico,
  • International Sussefusse Folk Dance Troupe, including dances from France and Ukraine,
  • Vietnamese community in Clark County, music and dances,
  • Darka Dusty and the Borscht Beatniks, songs from Ukraine,
  • Sofia Lupyr, songs from Ukraine,
  • Folk group Estampa Mexicana, dances from Mexico,
  • Turquoise Pride, Native American drumming and dancing,
  • Channing Dodson playing Scottish bagpipes and Irish Uilleann bagpipes.

The program includes three performances featuring Ukrainian songs and dances, the organization’s way of showing that it stands with Ukraine in this time of war, said Cindy Lopez-Werth, president of the Council of ethnic support. The Ethnic Support Council also plans to sell pro-Ukrainian stickers and signs, with 100% of proceeds going to Ukrainians who end up in Cowlitz County because of the war, she said.

Amerigroup Washington, Bruno’s Pizza, Columbia Bank and other companies and individuals are sponsoring the event.

Darcy J. Skinner