iFest Takes Visitors Along the Silk Road

Big crowds are expected in downtown Houston this weekend for the International Festival. "iFest" features music, food, and crafts from all over the world along with cultural exhibits and activities for kids. As Gail Delaughter reports, the annual event is also trying out a different theme.

iFest Interim President Rick Mitchell says while past festivals have highlighted individual countries, they’re now focusing on different regions of the world. The theme of this year’s festival is “The Silk Road: Journey Across Asia.”

“The Silk Road was the ancient trade route from the Mediterranean to China. It went through the Middle East and up through central Asia. So really think of it as Turkey, the Middle East, over through central Asia and to India and China.”

Entertainment this year includes Chinese acrobats and a Bollywood-style review. Mitchell says iFest visitors will also see recreations of major historic sites.

“We’ve got a recreation of the Great Wall of China, the Gateway of India, the Turkish Trojan Horse, Kazakh yurt, all kinds of educational and cultural exhibits.”

iFest is this weekend and next, with events at City Hall, Sam Houston Park, and Tranquility Park. Adjacent streets will be closed during the festival as well as the McKinney Street exit from southbound I-45. For a full schedule of events, visit

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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