Stay local and go global at these 8 international festivals

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Photo courtesy of Sacramento Greek Festival
At the Sacramento Greek Festival, attendees can sample savory delicacies like gyros and moussaka, as well as sweet treats like baklava and the popular loukoumades doughnuts.

You can stay local and go global, thanks to these eight cultural festivals throughout the Sacramento region this fall. From Jewish matzo ball soup to Armenian pizza and a Greek doughnut-eating contest, these international extravaganzas are bringing the sights, sounds and tastes of the world right to the River City's backyard. 

Elk Grove Multicultural Festival

Aug. 25 This seventh annual fête, which closes out Elk Grove's Cultural Diversity Awareness Month, will showcase performances from dozens of local artists and groups like Sacramento-based Kristy Oshiro, who will lead a taiko drum presentation, and Elk Grove's Otahi Marama, whose members will perform the hula. Guests can also sample international flavors from the nine local food trucks on site, including Azteca Street Tacos and Tailgater 44 (popular for its Filipino lumpia), or groove to the jazz and soul beats of the East Wind Band. Free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Elk Grove Regional Park. 9950 Elk Grove-Florin Road. Elk Grove. 916-691-2489.

The Elk Grove Multicultural Festival will feature dozens of cultural demonstrations, including taiko drumming and dances from Hawaiian and Hmong (pictured) cultures. (Photo courtesy of Elk Grove Multicultural Festival)

Jewish Food Faire

Aug. 26 Attendees at this 41st yearly festival can nosh on all sorts of kosher cuisine, from sweet treats like noodle kugel and rugelach (a flaky rolled pastry stuffed with fruit preserves and nuts) to savory deli classics like cured corned beef sandwiches and matzo ball soup, prepared by members of the Congregation Beth Shalom. Carb-ivores can nab a New York-style bagel and shmear from Baron’s Bagels in Berkeley or break bread with Davis-based Upper Crust Baking Company's authentic hard-crusted Jewish corn rye, which is only available at the fair. Free. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Congregation Beth Shalom. 4746 El Camino Ave. Carmichael. 916-485-4478.

Rugelach, flaky pastries filled with chocolate, raisins and walnuts, will be among the smorgasbord of Jewish goodies at the 41st annual Jewish Food Faire. (Photo courtesy of Jewish Food Faire)

Polish Festival

Sept. 8 Roseville plays host to this celebration of Polish culture, now in its 29th consecutive year. Head to one of the two stages for performances from groups like Lowiczanie, a Polish dance team from San Francisco, or listen to traditional accordion tunes played by Sacramento’s Nicolai Prisacar. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, order the crowd favorite potato pancakes made by the Sacramento Polish Club, or pick up some of the country's signature sausages from San Francisco's Seakor Polish Deli. At the children’s booth, little ones can decorate a Polish flag or learn to polka. Free. 12-6 p.m. 327 Main St. Roseville. 916-782-7171.

Brazilian Day Sacramento Street Festival

Sept. 9 This sixth annual block party kicks off with a colorful parade led by the Sacramento drumming group La Samba, and continues with samba dancing from groups like San Francisco's Boca do Rio and L.A.'s Raiz Brazil, and capoeiraa traditional Brazilian martial art. Show off your footie skills at the penalty shoot-out competition, or your foodie skills with a bowl of moqueca de bacalhau, a Brazilian cod stew with tomato, onion, garlic and coriander broth. Free. 1-7 p.m. 20th St. between J and K St. 916-588-5463.

Romanian Festival

Sept. 29 Romanian folk dance group Ansamblul Artistic Profesionist Crisana will make the trek from the motherland to this gathering in Roseville to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the unification of the Romanian kingdom. Explore pop-up exhibits displaying Romanian history through images, relics, paintings and pottery, as well as eats from the Eastern-European nation like the sarmale, cabbage rolls stuffed with beef and pork; the cârnați, a smoked pork sausage; and the mămăligă,a Romanian take on polenta. Free. 12-7 p.m. Royer Park. 190 Park Dr. Roseville. 916-604-6707.

Sacramento Greek Festival

Oct. 5-7 Head to East Sacramento for this big, fat Greek festival. Not only will there be oodles of Grecian goodies—from savory delicacies like gyros and moussaka (an eggplant and ground beef casserole) to sweet treats like baklava and the popular loukoumades (doughnuts drizzled with honey syrup)—but attendees can also participate in a loukoumades-eating contest and learn the Kalamatiano, a traditional Greek circle dance. And don’t forget your shot of ouzo, Greece’s signature anise-flavored aperitif. $5 (Free for ages 12 and under). Times vary by day. Annunciation Orthodox. 616 Alhambra Blvd. 916-443-2033.

 The Zartonk Dance Group will perform authentic Armenian dances at the Armenian Food Festival. (Photo courtesy of Armenian Food Festival)

Sacramento Aloha Festival

Oct. 6  Channel your inner Moana and join the more than 16,000 people that are expected to attend this eight annual jamboree that celebrates the cultures of Hawaii and its Pacific Island neighbors like Samoa and Fiji. Kids can head to Keiki Corner to try their hand at threading leis, and guests of all ages can sample authentic fare like Kalua pulled pork and poi, a purple pudding-like staple made from pounded taro roots. For dessert, grab a shaved ice topped with fresh passion fruit, pineapple and papaya juices. Free (Parking is $10). 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cal Expo. 1600 Exposition Blvd.

Armenian Food Festival

Oct. 20 Come hungry to this 71st annual cultural fête, which serves up a smorgasbord of signature dishes from Armenia. Feast upon lamb shish kebabs, grape leaves stuffed with rice, börek (a layered cheese pie made with phyllo dough) and lahmajoun, a thin pizza topped with finely minced meat, onions, tomatoes, parsley, garlic and a squeeze of lemon. For dessert, try the kurabia, a rich, buttery sugar cookie, or the choreg, a brioche bread that is a holiday staple. Put your best foot forward and try an Armenian folk dance, or let the pros—like Sacramento’s Zartonk and Miracle dance groups—show you how it’s done. $5. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Trinity Great Hall. 2620 Capitol Ave. 916-443-3633.

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