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Houston International Festival
An African Oasis
News Release
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Downtown Houston will be transformed into an African oasis for the Houston International Festival starting this weekend. Music, art, crafts, food and people combine in the city's center for an annual bash that's pure Houston fun.

Stretching across 16 acres of parks and streets including City Hall, Bagby Street, and Tranquility and Sam Houston Parks, this year's outdoor event will feature six international entertainment-themed zones including WaMu Out of Africa, International, Target Kids, Latin, Louisiana and Jamaica presented by Jamaica Tourist Board.

The festivities get started with a free lunchtime concert on Friday, April 18 and the event is in full swing on Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20 and the following weekend as well.

With its Out of Africa: The Three Journeys theme, iFest truly brings something unique to downtown. Upper Sam Houston Park will transform into one of the most stunning wonders of the event and serves as the heart of the WaMu Out of Africa Zone, which celebrates the cultures of Africa and African influence in the Americas. A 22-foot-tall replica of the incredible Beta Ghiorgis stone-carved church of Lalibela, carved into a mountain-like structure and pathway will allow festival-goers to experience the magnificent structure and view a photography exhibit and cultural information about Ethiopia.

The WaMu Out of Africa Zone also will feature Ethiopian weaving and painting with demonstrations by Ethiopian craftsmen. The Coffee Hut will allow visitors to observe Ethiopian coffee demonstrations and sample Ethiopian coffee. Be sure to check out the Gullah exhibit with interactive demonstrations of African and African-American culture including drum circles and dancing.

Festival hours are noon - 10 p.m. on Saturdays and noon - 8 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are available at the gate for $15 and advance discount tickets can be purchased
online and at Houston area H-E-Bs.





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