Explore the World Downtown

The International Institute of Minnesota hosts annual Festival of Nations.

The smell of food permeates the air, and the sound of musical instruments and voices is everywhere. Longtime volunteer Dani Anspach calls the Festival of Nations at RiverCentre a “very colorful, vibrant and upbeat event.”

The annual experience, this year May 5 through 7, has been around for almost 85 years and includes performances, demonstrations, exhibits, food and more. The event is sponsored by the International Institute of Minnesota, which helps refugees in America, with the goal of bringing the community together and sharing cultures from around the world.
The theme of this year’s festival revolves around celebration and rituals across cultures. According to Anspach, each participating culture adopts the annual theme and adjusts their booth accordingly. “Nothing is ever the same” from year to year, says Anspach.