International Blast Festival celebrates diversity today – 9/29/2012

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News release from the Downtown Improvement District:

International Blast Festival Celebrates Diversity

It’s time for a cultural blast -a quick, enjoyable occasion of fun and laughter with an international twist. The Downtown Improvement District will celebrate culture and diversity in Fort Wayne with International Blast, putting a new spin on a block party that was held for several years by JK O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House in downtown Fort Wayne. The event will take place Saturday, September 29, from 3 pm to 6 pm on Wayne Street at One Summit Square. It is a family friendly, free event.

The event will feature live performances, artist booths, display booths from cultural organizations, and ethnic foods from various vendors. Scheduled acts include the TRIAAC Jenbe Ensemble, Mon dancers, bi-lingual band Practice at 5, guitarist Skip Calvin, martial arts demonstrations, Amaneceres de Mexico dancers and the Fort Wayne Youtheatre. Many artists will be selling their work and display booths will share information about various cultures and international programs.

International Blast will also include some foods from around the world. A half dozen restaurants and food vendors will be on hand serving special menus for the festival. JK O’Donnell’s will offer a beer and wine tent as well.

Nearly two dozen WOW (World on Wheels) garden wheelbarrows celebrating multicultural awareness are on public display at Parkview Field and will be auctioned at International Blast. Showcasing 21 ethnicities living in Fort Wayne, the wheelbarrows have been decorated by local artists and each represents a country with plants in the wheelbarrows corresponding to the culture. Proceeds from the auction will go to Catherine Kasper Place for their refugee and immigrant programs to help those new residents grow food in our environment.

International Blast coincides with the Last Saturdays activities downtown and kicks off National Diversity Week which begins on October 1 and runs through October 5. The festival is sponsored by Fort Wayne Metals, JK O’Donnell’s, Hanning & Bean and Metro, the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission.

Free booth space for artists and information booths are still available. To participate in International Blast, contact the Downtown Improvement District, 111 W. Wayne Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802; (260) 420-3266, ext. 3040 or a sign-up form is on-line at


Stage Schedule:

3:00pm-3:20 FW Youtheatre presents “Stories from Around the World”

3:25pm-3:45pm Amaneceres de Mexico -Mexican folk dancers

3:45pm-4:15pm Jenbe Drum Ensemble – Traditional African drummers

4:15pm-4:35pm Mon Dancers – Burmese dancers

4:30 Live Auction, WOW (World on Wheels) wheelbarrows

4:35pm-5:15pm Singer Skip Calvin – Acoustic American classic rock

5:15pm-6:15pm Practice at 5 – Bilingual Hispanic/English musicians


Information Booths:

AIDS Task Force

Basche Martial Arts

Bread for the World

Catherine Kasper Place

Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement

Downtown Improvement District

Fort Wayne Sister Cities

Friends of the Third World


Multicultural Health Initiative

Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art & Culture




A Balloon Above – balloon artist

Congolese artists – jewelry designed by refugees from various countries

John J. Foster – bilingual books for young children

Michael Hap Hapner – Reuse Art – vinyl flowers

Bonnie Manning – photography of Italy

Sue Slick & Sue Sells – jewelry, garden art, cards, clothespin dolls


Food Vendors:

Affine Food Truck – German food

Anthony Wayne Lions – popcorn/pickle on a stick

Bravas Food truck – Spanish Tapas

Friends of the 3rd World – Tea from Egypt & India

Getaway Grill – Mexican menu

JK O’Donnell’s – beer/wine, Irish food

Pembroke Bakery and Cafe

Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art & Culture – fried fish



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