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Norcross church celebrates diversity with festival

NORCROSS - With a congregation that represents many different cultures, St. Patrick's Catholic Church celebrates its diversity.

Since 2005, the Norcross church has encouraged a cultural exchange of traditions though its International Fair with food, fellowship and fun. This year will be no different as the faith community gathers and invites Gwinnett residents to attend its festival Oct. 3.

Festival co-founder Jeanette Fermin, a native of Trinidad, estimated the church boasts about 25 different cultures within its congregation.

"One of the other parishioners and myself were just looking around and we saw that there were so many people from different countries who were parishioners at the church," she said. "(The festival) was a way for the parishioners to get together, learn about each other's cultures and foods."

The International Festival will include music, dancing, demonstrations, kids games and activities, a fashion show and, perhaps one of the biggest draws, food from various cultures. Tickets will be available for purchase to sample dishes, with all proceeds going to the church's capital campaign. The church will also raffle off gift certificates throughout the event.

Local businesses are invited to rent booths to showcase products and services during the event, which will be held from 2 to 10 p.m.

"When we first started, it was just from 5 to 10 and now we've extended it," Fermin said of the annual event. "It's gotten bigger as the years go by."

SideBar: If You Go

· What: International Festival 2009

· When: 2 to 10 p.m. Oct. 3

· Where: St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 2140 Beaver Ruin Road in Norcross

· Cost: Free to attend

· For more information: Call 770-448-2028 or visit www.stpatricksga.org