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Festival to bring taste of Europe to downtown Gainesville

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Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013 12:23 am

The second annual Viva Europe! festival will highlight about 15 European countries Saturday on Bo Diddley Community Plaza.

The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Gail Keeler, UF’s Center for European Studies outreach coordinator, said people can watch and join in on Irish, Greek and Turkish dancing.

Every hour, there will also be sing-alongs in various European languages.

Local vendors will be selling traditional European food.

“Last year, there wasn’t as much emphasis on having something to do,” Keeler said. “This year, we charged the student groups with thinking of activities that are more interactive, so somebody could take away a little piece of Europe.”

Olesya Dudenkova, a 23-year-old UF history graduate student assistant, said she will be writing people’s names in the Russian alphabet onto nametags for keepsakes.

Keeler expects 2,000 people to attend.

François Moschini said he is looking forward to partaking in French activities.

He also wants to gain a better understanding of Eastern Europe.

“When we think about Europe, we don’t really think about Poland and other European countries that have less power,” said the 21-year-old UF French foreign exchange student studying international business.

Keeler said the show will still go on Saturday despite the 50 percent chance of showers forecasted.

Moschini, determined to experience a taste of his homeland, said he won’t let the gloomy weather rain on his parade — or festival.

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