By Alan Burke
---- — The popular International Festival in downtown Peabody is set for Sunday, Sept. 14, with Sunday, Sept. 21, as a rain date.
The annual event brings thousands to Peabody Square, which will be closed to traffic, as well as to the streets around City Hall and the Leather City Common. In its 31st year, the festival celebrates the contributions of the region’s various ethnic groups, including the Irish, Greeks, Poles, Chinese, Portuguese, Brazilians, Jamaicans, Scandinavians and English, among others.
All those cultures have contributed to the unique tastes of the festival, with scores of booths serving traditional foods — the event’s most popular feature. Gourmets are wise to come early, while the best dishes last. The festival typically starts at 10:45 a.m.
In addition, there is music, with performances often staged in the square. The work of local artists is also on display and, in case you see something you really like, for sale. Kids events, from games to face painting, are scheduled for Leather City Common.
The end of the festival is not the end of the celebration, at least not as far as food is concerned. Officials are signing up Peabody restaurants for the return of Restaurant Week, which is expected to be a two-week promotion with bargains available at various Peabody eateries.
Although it happens in Peabody, people near and far are encouraged to join the fun at International Festival.
If you go
What: Annual International Festival
Where: Peabody Square
When: Sept. 14 (rain date Sept. 21)
Cost: Free to attend, food extra