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The World Comes to Old Towne Today

Half a million people are expected to visit Old Towne this weekend for the city’s 24th annual International Street Fair.

Artisans were up with the sun Friday to begin setting up the 68 crafts booths that will surround the downtown traffic circle at Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street.

Along with musical entertainment and food booths featuring various ethnic fare, the festival is giving special emphasis to children’s activities.

“We’ll have all of the normal excitement, but the big difference will be the children’s village,” said Marshall Feduk, one of the festival organizers. “It’s much, much larger this year, taking the whole center of the circle.”

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The village will include a petting zoo, carnival games, face-painting and children’s games. Police will provide free fingerprinting, and the Fire Department will allow youngsters to pose with firefighting gear for parents who want to snap pictures.

Performers in ethnic dress will give shows on 10 stages around the fair site.

About 1,200 volunteers will be working the fair, with 80 nonprofit groups expecting to raise more than $2 million for their causes, Feduk said.

Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Sunday, with liquor sales ending at 9 p.m. both nights. Admission is free.

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