Clog America, designated by the Utah Legislature as "Utah's Ambassadors of Peace and Friendship to the World," will soon embark on its 31st International Festival Tour.

The folk-dance troupe will represent the United States in four summer festivals, including Poland's "Beskidy Highlanders' Week of Culture," the largest annual folklore festival in Europe. The group will also participate in two festivals in Sardinia, as will as the "39th International Festival of the Folklore Aviano-Piancavallo" in Italy, where it will also perform for servicemen and women stationed at the Aviano Air Base.

The mission of the group, says artistic director Shawnda Bishop, is "to carry a message of peace, friendship and hope to people in other lands through music, dance and humanitarian projects."

Prior to its departure, Clog America will present a benefit concert on Monday at Thanksgiving Point, with proceeds going to the fund for Cameron Sevy, who was paralyzed this past February while sledding with his son.

This summer, the dancers will be taking blankets, hygiene kits, clothing and school supplies to disadvantaged children in Sardinia and Poland.

Clog America began its humanitarian projects in 2005 at the Moscow Palace of Children's Arts, which serves families of refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, says Bishop.

During last summer's tour to Brazil, close to 800 items were presented to the charitable group SOCREBE, and another 200 items were given to displaced children at the Emilio Lopes Home, and the reaction there was very touching, says Bishop.

She cites remarks of Maria Ambile Zambenedetti, general director of SOCREBE, who told the group, "It is good to know that there are people that believe it is possible, one day, that we may live in solidarity, where people everywhere help each other, transforming dreams into reality. In the context in which we live, with many injustices and much social despair, it is very nice to walk with people like you to seek for a better world."

If you go

What: Clog America

Where: Thanksgiving Point, Lehi

When: Monday, 7 p.m.

Cost: $5

Web: www.clogamerica.com


E-mail: [email protected]