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Chapel Hill honors and celebrates culture in Sunday's international festival

International flags line Franklin Street in preparation for the upcoming Near and Far Festival in Chapel Hill this weekend. 

The festival will be held on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at 140 West Franklin St. Plaza, and will celebrate Chapel Hill’s global community, according to the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership. 

The flags lining Franklin Street accompany vinyl decals that advertise the festival’s events, which are free and open to the public.

Meg McGurk, the executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said the festival aims to promote international awareness in Chapel Hill’s local community. 

“The idea of having a special event to honor our international community both on and off campus has been an interest for many people in the community for a while,” she said. 

McGurk said the event will honor Chapel Hill’s international community in a way that allows residents to experience new cultures.

“It’s really to celebrate and honor the international cultures that are represented here in Chapel Hill on and off campus and for people to be able to share that culture with others — be it art, dance, music, food, activities,” McGurk said.

The festival will feature performances from Pline Mounzeo to Prema Natya Vidyalaya Dance School. The event will also have interactive exhibits such as UNC Global, the Chapel Hill Chinese School and a tasting tent. 

The flags are representative of the town and university’s international populations. Overall the international flags have been well received by the public and have prompted significant interest in the event, McGurk said.

“We thought, you know, what represents different countries are their flags,” McGurk said. “So we thought that would be a way to honor and celebrate a variety of cultures here in our community as well as really peak people’s interests.”

She encouraged residents to gain new experiences from the festival, which will feature international artists and food throughout the day. Amrit Narula, owner of the Mr. Mongolian food truck, said his truck will offer diverse international food to attendees of the event. 

“We are the only Mongolian food truck in the Triangle and we will be serving our Mongolian food, which is a custom-made stir fry,” Narula said.

Narula said the freshly made Mongolian food his truck offers will further the international culture of the festival, and will provide a different kind of Asian cuisine to the local community. 

“I think that because our food is very unique, it’s very important to have a food truck like ours in a festival like this,” Narula said.  “There are tons of unique trucks, but we’re one of them.”


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