ATLANTIC BEACH – The flavors of the world collided Saturday as the International Food Festival turned the Atlantic Beach Circle into a vibrant global hub, complete with diverse cuisine and a melting pot of musical performances.
The event, which took place from noon to 8 p.m., offered visitors a chance to savor a mouthwatering assortment of delicacies and desserts representing dishes from Lebanon, South America, Norway, Mexico, the United States, Poland, Italy, France and Belgium.
One patron, Sarah Barr, said out of everything her favorite food was the beef and cheese egg roll.
“It’s absolutely fantastic,” Barr said. “You can’t get them like this from anywhere else.”
For Deborah Mueller, the day was all about the Cuban cuisine.
“Their meat is so delicious, I don’t know what they put in there,” Mueller said. “It just falls apart as soon as it hits my mouth.”
The festival served not only as a platform for cultures from around the world to showcase their culinary delights, but to also share their vibrant music.
The festival also featured captivating performances throughout the day, ranging from Latin dance and Turkish music to Middle Eastern tunes, Reggaeton beats and Traditional Hawaiian melodies.
Local music enthusiast DJ BJ expressed his excitement for the International Food Festival. BJ, who took a break from his usual gigs at various venues along the Crystal Coast, saw this event as an opportunity to bring a touch of diversity to Carteret County.
“Especially in the foods and service industry and the music industry, Carteret County could do with more international flair,” BJ said. “I’m glad that we’re supporting it.”
Having previously performed in larger markets such as Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro, where he immersed himself in the diverse sounds of house, dubstep, and drum and bass, BJ has built a strong musical foundation that allows him to pivot among different genres.
Smith emphasized the importance of fostering an open-minded atmosphere in a county that may not always exhibit such qualities.
He believes that the music at the International Food Festival has the power to unite people and create a sense of harmony within the community.
“You don’t see a lot of stuff like this, you don’t,” BJ said. “And I want it to happen, especially in Beaufort and surrounding areas, that we develop open-minded musical opportunities in a not so open-minded county. If music can unify people, that’s what we need.”
The special celebration coincided with Mother’s Day and was complete with a kite flying contest, sandcastle competition, TikTok challenge and dance party.
In addition to the International Food Festival in Atlantic Beach, another event is scheduled for June 3 in Raleigh, promising even more opportunities for people to come together, celebrate diversity and indulge in a global gastronomic experience.