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International food festival in Morristown hopes to help immigrant families integrate into the community

The HOLA Lakeway International Food Festival kicked off Saturday featuring music, games, and of course — food!

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — An international food festival kicked off in Morristown on Saturday afternoon. There, families had the chance to enjoy food from across Central and South America while listening to music from different cultures.

The event was hosted by HOLA Lakeway, which facilitates the integration of immigrant families into the community. They teach people about where to go for services and helps people feel at home in Lakeway. Organizers also hoped the event would contribute to the area's local economy by attracting people to visit, eat and shop.

"It's a lot of food and it's a lot of entertainment for the families," said one organizer.

It was held in the Morristown Farmer's Market, and visitors had the chance to shop local foods while enjoying the flavors and aromas of recipes from across different cultures.

For many families in the community, the event was eagerly welcomed. Organizers had to cancel last year's event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It lasted all day Saturday, from 10 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. It was free to attend.

"This just helps us get awareness out there of what we have in our community," said Jessica Bailiff, one of the organizers with HOLA Lakeway. "It's a great community. The Lakeway area, Hamblen County, Jefferson County and the surrounding areas have grown tremendously."