40th annual International Festival celebrates diversity in Lawton

Local News

LAWTON (KFDX/KJTL) — Elmer Thomas Park in Lawton is packed with food vendors, live performances and booths this weekend for the 40th annual International Festival.

For the last 40 years in Lawton, the last weekend in September marks a time for cultures to come together.

To Dinah Lazarte, the Lawton International Festival is personal.

“My parents, they’re German-American and Filipino-American, they, with a group of other folks, decided to hold a cultural event,” Festival committee member and north stage manager Dinah Lazarte said.

Those other folks made up a melting pot of other cultures.

“Represented there was Mexican Folklore folks, German-American, Italian, Austrian, they decided hey let’s celebrate that, let’s celebrate our culture,” Lazarte said.

Lazarte’s children and now grandchildren are a part of the families legacy 40 years later.

“It’s really fun, great dancers and really fun stuff, really good food,” Lazarte’s grandson Christiano Holder said.

All that and more equating to diversity in the city.

“Like as me, as a Filipina, what does it mean to be a Filipina and what is our culture, so we can show it to them,” Filipino American Association of Lawton-Fort Sill member Carolina Rodriguez said.

A chance to share culture, and invite others to experience it too.

“I’m proud of my heritage and I’m proud of what they started 40 years ago and I wanted to keep that going, even making it better every year,” Lazarte said.

A Lawton event emphasizing diversity 40 years running with official’s hopes of 40 more to come.

If you missed the festival on Friday or Saturday, you’re not out of luck!

The event wraps up Sunday, so you have from noon until 5:00 to join in on the fun.

Click here for details.

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