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The World Comes To Potsdam Sept. 23

Downtown Potsdam becomes a micro-United Nations on Saturday, September 23, when the World in Potsdam Diversity Festival returns for a seventh year.

The festival, which runs from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., will offer a day full of music, food, arts and crafts and activities for all ages. 

“This will be a day where we can celebrate our differences in a positive way, and, at the same time, celebrate the things that bring us together,” says Mary E. Theis, director of international students at Clarkson University and chair of the festival. “It’s not just to learn about cultures in other countries, but to celebrate cultures in our own.

“Like it or not, our world is changing,” she continues. “Thanks to the technological innovations of the last century, our world has become dramatically smaller and better. It’s important for all of us to continue working toward a better understanding of our neighbors. And I think it’s especially important that our children learn early on to appreciate diversity so that some of the problems that exist in our society begins to disappear.”

Highlights of the “World in Potsdam” Diversity Festival include:

  • Musical performances by the Spencerville Legion Pipe Band, Norte Tropical, La Nouvelle France and Akua; dance performances from the ALLNATIONS Dance Troupe and Full Circle; and dramatic performances by the Covenant Players’ “Guerrilla Theatre”
  • Asian and African fashion shows.
  • Numerous displays, exhibits and arts and crafts representing countries such as Barbados, Canada, China, Indonesia, Ireland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and South Africa; the African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean and Native American cultures; and the Islamic, Amish and Jewish religions.
  • Jousting and tae kwon do exhibitions, chariot rides and rickshaw races.
  • Art exhibits from professional artists and artwork from local elementary and secondary schoolchildren.
  • Sampling of food from French, Indian and other cuisines.
  • Children’s activities, including a morning movie, face painting, and hair beading; making Islamic name buttons, Hispanic paper kites and flowers, and international paper dolls; learning Native American “Life Skills on the Land” and indigenous languages, and listening to Native American stories at the “Reading Teepee”; and an obstacle course and a piñata party.

The World in Potsdam Diversity Festival is co-sponsored by Clarkson University, SUNY Potsdam, the Village of Potsdam and the Sweetgrass Foundation.

For more information, please contact Mary Theis, chair of the World in Potsdam Festival, at 315-268-7970 or visit the festival website at

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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