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International ties strengthened during Summerfest
Aug 13, 2013 | 1150 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dancers from Chile teach local residents a few dance steps at the opening night of the festival, Wednesday, Aug. 7.
Dancers from Chile teach local residents a few dance steps at the opening night of the festival, Wednesday, Aug. 7.

Clipper Staff Writer

BOUNTIFUL — International visitors were enthusiastic about their time in Utah and the welcome they received from the families that hosted them.

“Any wish you had, before you said it, they were fulfilling it,” said Frits Couwenberg, a traveler from Finland.

“Sometimes we feel like we are spoiled by the host families,” said Lillian Lai, who played Chinese flute and interpreted for the director of the Taiwanese performers.

Several groups had performed in Springville before coming to Bountiful. Some would spend another week at a festival in South Jordan.

“It is very emotional” when the week ends and the travelers part with their families, said Lai.

“It is just like you have family in America,” she said. “It is a very special part about a festival.”

Host families picked up their Summerfest guests on Sunday, Aug. 4, and helped with meals and transportation during the week before taking them to their next destinations the following Sunday.

On Tuesday, a caravan of vans took the international visitors to Arches National Park where they hiked to Delicate Arch and explored other arches, before returning late the same day.

That trip and a visit to Temple Square and time researching genealogy were highlights Couwenberg mentioned.

“It was really impressive,” he said of the national park. “I wish I could have a seat there for 100 million years and see how it happened.”

He said that he had heard how the Mormon people “preserved names,” but that it brought him “enormous joy to do so” personally.

“We like here very much,” said Seven Liou, as interpreted by Lai. “Usually we perform in Europe. This is the first time come to America. It is a wonderful place with a lot of wonderful people.”

Claudio Castillo, from Chile, had been to America before, but this was his first trip to Utah.

“I will remember most the warm people that are so welcoming and nice,” said the dancer. “It was like at our own home.”

He hopes the festival will continue because it is such an ideal opportunity to learn about other cultures and meet other people from around the world.

“The festival has been beautiful,” he said.
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