A popular event dedicated to diversity and culture returns to the Fox Valley for its seventh year. Elgin’s annual International Festival will be held from 1:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Edward Schock Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, and other nearby locations. A collaboration between the city of Elgin and community and business leaders, iFest showcases the vast array of cultures in the Elgin community and the surrounding Fox Valley area through music and entertainment, ethnic cuisine and other activities. “With Elgin being as widely diverse as we are, the city wanted to put a spotlight on the many cultures you can find here,” said Kate O’Leary, the city’s special events coordinator. Regions represented at iFest will include Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin American, and North America. “Celebrating the heritage of our community helps make our community stronger,” O’Leary said. “Diversity and inclusion are two of the core values for Elgin’s strategic principles and priorities, and we want to make sure we are sharing those core values with our residents.” Elgin Mayor David Kaptain said the city is unique because of its people. “iFest is a wonderful event that celebrates the many cultures of Elgin’s community,” the mayor said in a news release. “It’s a family-friendly event that allows the community to come out and learn about their neighbor’s culture, try their cuisine, and enjoy their music and dance.” Opening ceremonies start at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, with a welcome from Kaptain, followed by announcements from Master of Ceremonies Jeff Myers and various community leaders. This year’s event brings with it the inaugural “Taste of Elgin Ethnic Food Fair,” located on Grove Avenue between Kimball Street and Symphony Way, where attendees can sample unique ethnic dishes from around the world. The children’s area will return the popular petting zoo and camel rides from last year’s event. Everyone will have an opportunity to capture beautiful images through several interactive photo booths, including an artistic floral backdrop of the theme of this year’s event, “UNITY.” Inside the Centre’s Heritage Ballroom, guests will find a world market featuring arts and crafts, merchandise and hands-on activities. Entertainment will be held in the green space just west of the Centre, and includes a lineup of local performers who will showcase their unique ethnic dance, music and entertainment. While annual attendance varies, more than 600 people participated in last year’s iFest, O’Leary said. “We had a great turnout,” she said. Coordinators hope to see even more this year. “People should attend this unique event for a lot of reasons,” O’Leary said. “You’ll see great acts from musicians and dancers from all backgrounds. You’ll have the opportunity to try new foods from all corners of the world. Most importantly, you’ll be in the heart of a cultural celebration with people from your community coming together to engage, support, and learn about each other.” Attendees are also invited to head to Gail Borden Public Library, 240 N. Grove Ave., for its Asian Pacific American Heritage Celebration. Set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the event will feature several Asian performers and a keynote speaker, Sufia Azmat. The fun continues Sunday with the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin’s annual Cinco de Mayo celebration from 1 to 5 p.m. in downtown Elgin on DuPage Court and Spring Street. The event will feature authentic Mexican music and artists, local food trucks, vendors and special activities.