Aug. 28—MARIETTA — The Cobb International Festival returned this weekend for the first time following a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
The event center of Jim R. Miller Park saw heavy foot traffic for the entirety of the six-hour event. People were eager to soak in all of the local and international music, shows and a wide variety of international cuisine offered by the many vendors surrounding the pathways.
"Any time we get an opportunity to experience another culture, we jump on it," said Terry A., a visitor from McDonough.
Terry attended the event with his wife, Arlene, who is from the Philippines. The two enjoyed mingling with the crowd, with Terry saying they met another couple from the Philippines while waiting in line for food.
Returning for the first time since its debut in 2019, the festival shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Michael Brantley, director of Cobb County Parks and Recreation. Brantley said he and his team recently noticed more people wanting to get out of the house and do things, and they knew it was time to restart the festival.
"We realized we had something positive with the event after the success of the first year," Brantley said. "We noticed more people getting out recently and noticed multiple festivals popping up, so we decided to bring it back."
Parks and Recreation coordinated the festival, according to Cobb County Commission Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, and pulled staff from across different Cobb County agencies to help plan the event. Vendors paid a fee for each table set up, according to Brantley.
Cupid spoke to the crowd early Saturday afternoon, officially kicking off the event. She invited different consulate representatives on stage to share greetings in their native languages, including members from South Korea, Ghana, Nigeria and Canada, to name a few.
"I'm so excited we get to showcase Cobb County's diversity," Cupid said during her speech.
Cupid shared her joy about the return of the event, saying the celebration of so many different cultures helps make people feel like they belong.
"I think it helps to let people know that everyone here is welcome," Cupid said. "If you're here in Cobb, then you're part of our Cobb community."