Once a year, you can go around the world in about 80 minutes.

The Festival of Nations recently celebrated its 80th year of food, shopping, folk dancing and music from more than 90 ethnic groups around the globe.

From Polish pierogi to Somali sambusas, the International Institute of Minnesota celebrated with a VIP party at St. Paul's RiverCentre.

More than 6,000 volunteers helped pull it off, event director Steve Heckler said. Many represented their cultures, from Italian to Korean to Yemeni.

"This is a global community," he said, adding that the Festival of Nations lets people "experience other ethnic cultures in a positive and authentic way."

With inspiration all around and an on-site passport application office, it was easy to fantasize about jet-setting. Roma Murphy said she wants to visit Tokyo to experience the city, and Cheryl Smith said she hopes to visit Egypt, where she's "drawn to the pyramids and Valley of Kings."

Send a postcard!

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177