5 fun international festivals to attend this month

Images courtesy of iFest and Greek Food and Wine Festival
Go global at five international festivals taking place around the region this spring.

Whether you want to groove to a Tahitian dance, meet a kangaroo or sip Greek wine, check out these five international festivals celebrating the world right in Sacramento’s own backyard.

iFest (International Festival)
May 16

All the world’s a stage at this 8th annual global festival celebrating 48 different countries with performances including Scottish bag pipes, Mexican folklorico, Indian Bollywood dancing and Egyptian belly dancing. Sample flavors from around the globe at food trucks like El Matador Mobile Mex and Tacos Los Reyes, Mediterranean caterer Fuzion Eatz and Asian drink café Wandering Boba. The festivities continue with an animal show featuring creatures from every continent, like an Australian kangaroo and African monkeys. Kids can take part in an Amazing Race Scavenger Hunt, which starts by grabbing a passport at the U.S.A. check-in booth and continues by collecting stamps and trinkets at booths representing different countries stationed around the venue. Don’t forget to take a selfie at the global green screen, which allows you to print photos standing next to landmark sites like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Eiffel Tower. Free. 5-9 p.m. Village Green Park. 3141 Bridgeway Dr. Rancho Cordova. 273-5704. enutshells.net

Yarmarka Festival
May 16

Take in performances from Russian singers, Ukrainian dancers and Moldavian musicians at this 17th annual modern day Slavic fair bringing together entertainers from all former Soviet Republics. Munch on traditional European fare from Armenian candy makers, Uzbek kebob caterers and Lithuanian ice cream makers, and make your own souvenir at cultural arts and crafts booths or purchase them from local merchants spread throughout the Slavic vendor marketplace, which will offer items such as Russian toys and baking items, traditional garments and jewelry, and authentic Russian tea. Local stylists and makeup artists will also be at hand to present classes on both traditional and modern European looks. Free. 12-7 p.m. Southside Park. 2115 6th St. 487-9701. yarmarkausa.com

Jewish Heritage Festival
May 17

Feast on kosher fare at this Israeli and Jewish festival at Raley Field with food like tabbouleh salad, hummus with pita chips, falafels, kosher ice cream, hot dogs from Hebrew National, and kosher sandwiches from Oakland Kosher with Jewish deli fillings like tuna and egg salad. Entertainment options include Hebrew hymns performed by the Sacramento-based Shalom School Choir or a capella Jewish music from YouTube phenomenon The Maccabeats, which has amassed over 2 million views for their a capella rendition of the pop Hanukkah anthem “Miracle” featuring The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik. Festival goers can spend the last half hour of the celebration taking part in the Walk With Israel, a mile-long stroll while waving Israeli flags along the Sacramento River Parkway Trail in support of the Mediterranean state. Free. 12:30-5 p.m. Raley Field. 400 Ballpark Dr. West Sacramento. 486-0906. jewishsac.org

Greek Food and Wine Festival
May 22-24

It’s all Greek to those who flock to St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church in Roseville for this 21st annual festival celebrating Hellenic wine, dancing and cuisine. Feast on a smorgasbord of traditional Greek eats like pastitsio (a cheesy baked pasta dish), mousaka (a layered casserole with eggplant, meat sauce and cheese), kourabiethes (buttery shortbread cookies) and loukoumades (deep fried balls of dough dipped in honey). Plus, take part in the Mediterranean country’s folk dances and taste 12 Grecian wines as well as some Greek microbrews and plenty of ouzo, the region’s signature apertif. Opa! $2. Fri. 5-10 p.m. Sat. & Sun. noon-10 p.m. St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church. 1001 Stone Canyon Dr. Roseville. 772-9372. festival.saintanna.org

International Kids Festival
May 23

It’s a small world after all at this tike-sized 11th annual international festival featuring cultural performances like Mexican folklorico from the Folklorico Cali Dance academy, Indian Bollywood from Bhashar’s Art Academy and African rhythm from Jodama African Dance. Don’t leave without enjoying family-friendly entertainment like train rides, a magician show, pony rides, rock climbing and a petting zoo. Ten food vendors will be serving up international dishes ranging from Italian bites from Sacramento Italian Ice and Pizza Guys to authentic Russian kabob and Uzbek pilov prepared by chef Anatoly Komm from Teremok Grocery Store. Free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. William Land Park. 3800 Land Park Dr. 299-1777. russianamericanmedia.com

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