Worldwide on H25, an evening of international dance, music, costumes and cuisine, comes to Ogden for the third year on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 7.
Three years ago, event organizer Larry Baird had the idea to bring international dancers to Ogden for one evening between their performances at the Springville World Folkfest and Summerfest in Bountiful. He is one of the original founders of Summerfest and co-owns the retail shop Making Scents on Historic 25th Street in Ogden.
Every August, hundreds of dancers come from all over the world to participate in four international festivals around the state. Baird explained that it takes more than a year for the dancers to secure their visas and pass through interviews in order to attend the festivals.
In addition, most of them travel at their own expense -- meaning this could be their chance of a lifetime to travel abroad.
This year, dancers hail from Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, India, Kenya, Indonesia, Siberia and two regions of France.
"This is the highlight of their time in the U.S.," Baird said of their stop in Ogden.
The organizing committee makes sure the dancers receive special treatment, picking them up in the morning and taking the group of teenagers and young adults to Fort Buenaventura, where they engage in a water fight and eat a catered meal of American hamburgers.
"They get to relax and have fun," Baird said, explaining that the group has little down time to interact with each other and experience local culture due to their rigorous performing schedule.
In the afternoon, they are taken by trolley to Union Station to tour the museums and enjoy an ice cream social. Many of them have never seen antique cars and are intrigued by our Wild West history, he said.
Afterward, the dancers get dressed in elaborate native folk costumes and prepare for the Parade of Nations, kicking off at 5 p.m. at 25th Street and Lincoln, and then traveling west to Wall Avenue.
For the first two years, Worldwide on H25 coincided with the Archery World Cup held in Ogden and served as an opening ceremony. This year, the date happened to be the same as the Tour of Utah.
Event organizer Kym Buttschardt said it was the perfect alignment of the planets for everything to come together as it did. "We are really excited that the Tour of Utah stage rolls right into our celebration," she said.
A day of events centered around professional cyclists visiting for the 131-mile race beginning and ending at Ogden Municipal Park winds up at 4:45 p.m., right before the Parade of Nations leaves from the same stage where the final awards ceremony takes place.
Immediately following the parade, 20 local restaurants will be on hand with booths serving tastes of their most popular dishes, priced between $2 and $5.
Event organizer Tina Yu said the international cuisine of the evening includes Japanese sushi from Tona Sushi Bar and Grill as well as Greek pasta and Spanish-style stew from Two Bit Street CafÃ©.
New to the event this year, Aroy-D Thai Cuisine is serving chicken satay, papaya salad and pumpkin curry, and Sandy's Fine Foods is dishing out its famous pie.
It is a great evening for locals to have an international experience and enjoy free entertainment that could otherwise come with a hefty price tag, Baird said. Dancers will also engage attendees in an interactive street dance.
"The costumes are absolutely gorgeous," said Baird, adding, "If people understood how hard it was for these groups to get here, they would appreciate them even more."
Beginning at 7 p.m., each group will perform a 20-minute routine on the stage at 25th Street and Lincoln.
The city estimates that 10,000 spectators attend Worldwide on H25 each year. The Weber County RAMP tax helps fund the event.
"This is one of the greatest events Ogden has. It has an appeal to everyone," Baird said.
Schedule of events taking place Tuesday, Aug. 7, at or near the Ogden Municipal Park and Ogden Amphitheater:
- 9 a.m.-4 p.m. — Lifestyle Expo with festivities and big-screen TVs airing the Tour of Utah bike race live
- 10:15 a.m. — Tour of Utah riders leave for a 131-mile race
- 10:45 a.m. — Mayoral Community Fun Ride, all ages welcome, must have a helmet to ride
- Noon-2 p.m. — Bike Rodeo, open to all children to test bike skills and rules of the road
- Noon-3:30 p.m. — Bike Jousting Tournament for ages 18 and older
- 1:30-3:30 p.m. — GOAL Foundation’s Kid Zone, with free bounce houses, disc golf, climbing wall and more
- 4-4:45 p.m. — Tour of Utah awards ceremony
- 5 p.m. — Parade of Nations, heading west on 25th Street from Lincoln to Wall Avenue
- 5-8 p.m. — Food vendors in the 100 block of 25th Street
- 6-8:30 p.m. — Dance performances on the stage at Lincoln and 25th Street