OGDEN — Seve Hurst always told herself she would leave her home in North Ogden to go to the annual Worldwide on H25 festival, but she always ended up forgetting to go the past two years.
The festival, now in its third year, showcases food and live performances from around the world on Historic 25th Street. Hurst finally made it down Tuesday, only to get pulled into a performance.
Hurst had been standing among dozens of people in a circle around Indonesian dancers who moved about in their bright-blue shirts and long, white skirts to the music of their native country. Toward the end of the song, the dancers went into the crowd and took their impromptu dance partners by the hand to join them.
Hurst left her family on the sidelines and did her best to move along with the young woman who had chosen her from the spectators.
“I usually wouldn’t go for that,” she said, but she was glad she did. “It was fun.”
The evening kicked off with a parade of all the performers who had come to Ogden for the event, the first part of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.
The colorful dancers from Colombia led the cavalcade as it marched west on 25th Street from the Ogden Amphitheater to the main event grounds between Wall and Lincoln avenues. Guitarists, drummers, dancers, singers and other performers from India, Costa Rica, Croatia, Siberia, Indonesia and France followed behind them.
The young men from France, on stilts, who made up the rear of the parade, impressed Brian Pauley the most. He and his family said they enjoyed the whole show, which Pauley called “a great demonstration of diversity” that nicely coincides with the London Olympics.
Twenty local independent restaurants served international cuisine along 25th Street as well. Yvonne and Todd Gale started their evening with Italian food, and had moved on to some tacos by the time the Colombian dancers started their performance.
The couple found a table close by to enjoy the show.
“I love this, especially the colors,” Todd Gale said, watching the folk dancers twirl their red, green, yellow and blue dresses to the beat of the music.
Jackie Mackenzie stood in the middle of the road with her husband, Rich, as they enjoyed plates of pasta and watched the dancers spin around.
They used to watch the festival from an apartment above the State Farm insurance office on 25th Street, their home after they immigrated to the U.S. from Canada five years ago. They’ve since moved from the apartment, but they still come back to enjoy the cultural sights and sounds.
Rich Mackenzie said, “It’s one of Ogden’s hidden gems.”