2019-04-12 / Front Page

Columbia International Festival features German-speaking countries

By Anita Baker

Heidi Chavous and Hans Lutz represent the nation of Germany. Heidi Chavous and Hans Lutz represent the nation of Germany. Every year over 20,000 people travel to Columbia from across the state and the region to attend the Columbia International Festival.

The festival brings together representatives from over 100 nations to share with festival visitors their pride in their national cultures. The Columbia International Festival is a colorful entertaining and educational event. Attendees are treated to the cuisine, artwork, costume, dance, and people of each nation represented.

South Carolina is increasingly becoming a more multicultural state. Nearly 400,000 foreign-born residents make up South Carolina’s international community. They represent nearly every nation in the world. In the Midlands alone, 90 languages are spoken and foreign-affiliated companies employ more than 100,000 South Carolinians.

This year the festival featured German-speaking countries. German is the official language in Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein and is a co-official language in Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the European Union. Germany is Europe’s largest economy and second most populous nation. It is known for its many famous composers including Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Strauss. The English language is a West Germanic language.

The festival also features a Global Education Day for school students and presents awards to International of the Year. This year the Business Person of the Year Award was presented to Meinolf Muhr, and the Community Ambassador of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Harris Pastides.

Sponsors for the festival include Richland County, the City of Columbia, EdVenture, the South Carolina Philharmonic, the USC Confucius Institute, and Doctors Care.

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