Our Mission

The International Festival strives to celebrate the diversity of Harrisonburg and the surrounding communities by providing a friendly forum in which cultural groups can showcase their cultural and linguistic values as a means to educate the larger community and to support awareness for their presence and contribution.


We began in 1997 as an alliance of various community groups and individuals who wanted to promote tolerance to all residents and offer support to local immigrants and cultural businesses. That first year, it was a small and dedicated group that put together the festival on short notice, and though it remains relatively small, our planning committee continues to diversify through increasing community involvement.

Realizing the importance of communication, the festival has always translated our promotional and informational materials in the most prominent languages of our area. Since its inception international music, dance, food, artists, storytelling, and family-friendly activities for everyone have been the mainstay of our event and what have given rise to our community ethos: ‘Educate, Entertain, and Eat!’

The Harrisonburg International Festival is a program of the Civic Engagement branch of the Fairfield Center, a nonprofit organization working to advance dialogue and understanding in our community.

Festival Values

In the spirit of the Festival’s mission to be a family-friendly intercultural event that embraces and celebrates our community’s diverse cultural traditions, seeks to build bridges of connection, and mutual understanding we require that no politically or religiously partisan, adversarial, disruptive, or objectionable content will be permitted as part of the festival. No real or toy weapons, drugs or drug paraphernalia, or items that may be deemed harmful or dangerous may be sold or promoted

The Festival reserves the right to make judgments as to what is appropriate and consistent with the spirit of these guidelines and regulations; you may be asked to remove such items as are deemed “not in compliance” or may be asked to leave/be escorted off the premises without compensation if these judgments and requests are not respected. We ask that any questionable items be cleared with us proactively in advance and we appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we seek to uphold these values that are important to us as a Festival.