Leave Your Passports At Home - It's An International Tour Without Leaving The Coast - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Leave Your Passports At Home - It's An International Tour Without Leaving The Coast

From Croatian pusaratas to German sausages and sauerkraut, the sweet and savory smells of international flavor filled the air.

"It's a celebration of who we are as a church, a catholic universal church, and it's right here in Biloxi," says Pastor Patrick Mockler, Our Lady Of Fatima.

Charlene Reddix and her two children were driving by when the festival caught her son's eye for one main reason, the rides.  But, Reddix says she wants her children to experience more than the fun the festival has to offer.

"I just want them to get a taste of all kinds of cultures. It's very important to my family," says Reddix, Biloxi.

People only got a taste of culture, they jumped in feet first to experience it through dance.

"We have dances, but they all have a story behind them," says Dawn Turner, dancer.

Tinikling, a Phillipino folk dance is a dance with a story behind it.   In it, dancers imitate tinkling birds trying to dodge bamboo traps in rice fields.  

Off stage, the festival mascot was busy handing out gold coins to kids in exchange for a wish.

"My wish was that my family was safe, and I hope nothing bad happens to them," says Emily McAvoy, Vancleave.

"The rides are great for the kids. I recommend this for anybody who'd like to come out with their kids.  This is perfect," Rusty Real, Festival goer.

Rusty Real should know. He brought his daughters and youngest son, ESPN Montana Real, named after, you guessed it , the sports network and Joe Montana. As for the kids, they gave the festival rave reviews.

"It's pretty amazing. I didn't expect it to be this fun," says McAvoy.

As Pastor Mockler puts it, it's fun that shifts the focus away from the more depressing realities on the coast.

"In the wake of Katrina where there's so much depression, so much anger, this is a great diversion from all of the daily burdens of life. "

You can stop by the festival Sunday from 11a.m. to 9p.m.  There will be raffle drawings including one for $15-thousand dollars and another for $1,000 raffle. Money raised from the event will benefit an early education center the pastor says the church hopes to build very soon.

By: Krystal Allan

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