SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Many people in the Ozarks area will be celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day by exploring the world’s cultures at the Springfield Multicultural Festival.

For 26 years, this annual festival explores the world through music, dance and performances of many kings.

Volunteer Justyn Pippins said he has been helping out with the festival for five years.

“It’s just that one day of the year that we all just kind of slow down and get together and hangout,” said Pippins.

The festival aims to showcase people sharing their heritage.

“I go back to the saying of if you don’t try to get to someone, you will never know that person,” said Mark Brown, who attended the event. “Can’t be scared going into the future to say hello to our neighbor because they look different, or they may have an accent, or they may speak different.”

The festival will be held at the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center, which is located at 2546 N. Glenstone Ave. in Springfield. The festival lasts from noon to 4 p.m.

Admission to the festival is $7 for adults and free for children 12 and under. In addition to the performances, people may also find ethnic food and a community resource exposition with booths from health care, law enforcement, financial, educational and other groups.

The festival’s schedule features multiple events, including:

  • 1 p.m.: Festival opening remarks
  • 1:15 p.m.: Dance from India featuring Harshytha Gunalan
  • 1:30 p.m.: Japanese traditional dance featuring Kizuna
  • 1:45 p.m.: Lion dance featuring Fuhok
  • 2 p.m.: Egyptian-style dance featuring Sarrab
  • 2:15 p.m.: Native American dance featuring Mahnomen
  • 2:30 p.m.: Springfield Aerial Fitness performance featuring Daniela Torres
  • 2:45 p.m.: Dance from Mexico featuring Grupo Libertad
  • 3 p.m.: Performance from the Springfield Little Theatre Yes Troupe