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Amid social distancing concerns, Festival of Nations jumps online

Amid social distancing concerns, Festival of Nations jumps online

2019 Festival of Nations

Christy Harlan and her husband Tim navigate with some help from their sons Miles (left), 7, and Tyler, 10, during the International Institute's 2019 Festival of Nations at Tower Grove Park in St. Louis Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. Organizers said this was the 19th annual festival of multicultural sights and sounds of the St. Louis region. Photo by Sid Hastings

ST. LOUIS — The International Institute of St. Louis announced Wednesday that it will not hold the Festival of Nations in Tower Grove Park this year.

The festival normally draws about 125,000 visitors each August, according to Anna E. Crosslin, the International Institute’s president and CEO. She said federal guidelines and social distancing requirements resulting from the coronavirus pandemic led to the decision to not hold the event.

But some version of it will move online. Crosslin said the institute is working on plans for a virtual celebration that "will showcase our festival sponsors, performers, and food and gift vendors."

The institute provides support to immigrants through language learning resources and aids them in seeking employment and citizenship. The institute also creates events to bring together “foreign-born newcomers and all community members,” according to its website.

“The Festival of Nations is our gift to St. Louis,” Crosslin said. “It’s about sharing the cultures of the world and about St. Louis-area residents learning and better appreciating those cultures.”

Photos from the 2019 festival

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