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Fair to add international flavor

By Tony Perez | 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office | Aug. 17, 2007

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LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS — The 37th Services Division at Lackland AFB is scheduled to host an International Folk Festival on Aug. 25 from 1-5 p.m. in the Arnold Hall Community Center.

The Lackland Youth Center staff will be involved, as will the Defense Language Institute and the Inter-American Air Forces Academy.

The Youth Center will be responsible for three arts and crafts tables at the event.

"We will be teaching people how to make Ojo de Dios (God's Eyes)," said Betty Ramirez, Youth Center program assistant. "We will also be making flowers similar to the ones that are seen during Fiesta week in San Antonio, as well as making festive hair clips."

"I got the idea from the Institute of Texan Cultures Folklife Festival held every year downtown, and since we have a very diverse group of people on base, I thought we have the resources to put together a cultural festival," said Zuhal Rick, Arnold Hall Community Center programmer.

Mrs. Rick hopes that the folk festival will turn into an annual event.

"We wanted to have the event indoors because it was the first one and because of the weather here around this time of year," Mrs. Rick said.

The host country for this year's folk festival is Turkey. The Turkish-American Association of San Antonio is helping with the event by bringing numerous cultural items.

"They have been willing to help set out the event and they are going to be bringing some ethnic food. They will also be helping out all the other groups with their setup," Mrs. Rick said.

Cultural representatives from Guam, the Philippines and Mexico will also be present to celebrate their respective heritages.

The festival will feature dance performances by numerous ethnic groups ranging from cloggers to belly dancers.

"I think the dance shows are going to be the real highlight of this event," Mrs. Rick said.

The International Folk Festival faces many of the same hardships that any first-year event faces.

"It was a challenge to organize different sources both on base and off base," said Mrs. Rick, who just started working at Lackland four months ago. "I still think it's going to turn out really great for the first event."

The event will be free and open to anyone who would like to participate.

"I've had some awesome volunteers that have really helped me make this event possible," Mrs. Rick said. "I think it will be a lot of fun."