Clarkston crafts 01

Displayed are handmade goods and art from South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Mali, the Miao Tribe in Guizhou, China, India, Nepal, Laos, Italy, Somalia and refugees now living in Clarkston. These items and many more will be for sale during the festival.

The Clarkston Community Center will hold its first International Spring Festival on April 7 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free to attend and will feature international food, garden plants and art for sale. There will also be music and children’s activities on the center’s grounds and inside Angora Hall. The festival will be held rain or shine. The Clarkston Community Center is located at 3701 College Ave. in Clarkston and free parking will be available onsite.

Cindy Bowden, executive director of the center, and Luay Sami, director of operations, said the inaugural festival is a way to connect the community.

“Clarkston has a very diverse community from all over the world. Back home, many cultures would celebrate the arrival of spring and have a festival, so we wanted to bring a little piece of their homes here,” said Sami.

“When the weather turns warm, people around the globe get busy in their gardens,” said Cindy Bowden. “We’ve discovered that gardening is something many of the refugee families we serve have in common with their new neighbors here in Georgia. We thought it would be a wonderful idea to create an event that focused on gardening, as well as food and art, three mainstays of the Clarkston Community Center and three things that translate well from culture to culture.”

The plants for sale have been selected for their ability to thrive in metro Atlanta’s climate. Choices include Muhly Grass, Autumn Joy Sedum, Black-Eyed Susan, Bee Balm, Arizona Sun Gaillardia, Maximillian Perennial Sunflower, Blazing Star Gayfeather, Alumroot, Blanket Flower, Purple Coneflower, Threadleaf Coreopsis, Wild Indigo, Tartarian Daisy, Cinnamon Fern, Autumn Fern, Holly Fern, Southern Lady Fern, Golden Rain Tree, Japanese Cryptomeria, Camelias, Paperbark Maple, Ginkgo, Bottlebrush Buckeye and Redbud. Volunteers will be available to advise visitors where and how to plant their selections.

Local restaurants and catering companies will provide dishes for sale from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. A $5 fee will be charged to enter the food hall, with proceeds benefitting the Clarkston Community Center. In addition to the tasty treats, a variety of art will be on display and available for purchase, including paintings of children from Uganda, tribal dolls from South Africa, hand-hammered copper earrings from Turkey and hand woven silk scarves from India. The artists represented are from South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Mali, the Miao Tribe in Guizhou China, India, Nepal, Laos, Italy, Somalia and refugees now living in Clarkston.

For interested vendors, space is still available to rent for $25 a table at the festival.

Established in 1994, the Clarkston Community Center offers programs for children, teens, adults and seniors, centered on education, wellness, art, recreation and community building. The center serves over 56,000 individuals annually, primarily from Clarkston and greater DeKalb County, many of whom have immigrated to the United States or are newly-arrived refugees.

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