Rexburg

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REXBURG– Some East Idahoans may not travel the world, but the world travels to them each year during the Idaho International Summerfest.

“You can experience other cultures all week long,” Idaho International Summerfest Chairman Julie Coray says. “It’s heartwarming and entertaining and fun.”

Dancers and performers of various kinds travel from afar to share their culture with east Idaho. This year, performances will take place in Rigby and Rexburg.

Each year Coray and other organizers seek about 80 volunteer host families to house international guests during their week stay in Rexburg. This year, they’re short 25 families, and the festival is only three weeks away.

“We have some amazing people who are going to be host families for us, but we still need a few more,” Coray says. “Host families really are the heart of our festival.”

Coray says performers are attending from Austria, Italy, Mexico, Slovakia, Russia, Thailand, and the USA.

“We have a cultural exchange with them, they perform for us, and we share our homes and our hearts with them,” Coray says. “It’s going to be really entertaining.”

Coray says each family can host as many guests as they can accommodate. Typically they host between two to four dancers. Families will be required to give performers rides each morning to their rehearsals, pick them up midday from rehearsal so they can rest at home and then take them back to their evening or afternoon activities.


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“It is quite a sacrifice for each family to provide beds, to provide meals and transportation for a week for their performing guests,” Coray says. “We have to get more host families so that we can accommodate our guests when they come.”

Coray says this year thanks to title sponsor Beehive Federal Credit Union all of the performances are free for host families and the public.

“We have never had that before. This is the first time ever that we’ve had a title sponsor who has made it possible for us to have all of our performances free,” Coray says. “Our gratitude to them for making all of the events free to the public this year.”

Dancers perform every single day from July 8 through July 13. Events include a street festival at Porter Park, youth culture activities, an international picnic and more.

“There are some activities during the week that are just for host families and performers,” Coray adds.

EastIdahoNews.com file photo

Coray says the District 7 High School Rodeo Club and the All Americana Riders are putting on a free mini rodeo in the grandstands at the Madison County Fair Grounds for the international performers to have an all-American experience.

“It’s such a global fellowshipping opportunity and such a volunteerism opportunity to really give a service that really builds bridges across the world,” Coray says.

Coray says the festival is also needs of volunteers to help at specific events during the week. Find host family and volunteer sign ups on JustServe.org or IdahoSummerfest.com, where you can find the event schedule as well.

“There’s a lot of hands to make this all happen,” Coray says.



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