International festival kicks off with naturalization ceremony


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – For 120 people, October 14 is now a date just as important as any birthday or anniversary. With lives starting in 51 countries, they now have this one to call home as brand new, U.S. citizens.

“I’ve lived all over the world,” said Chantal Donaghy, who was born in Belgium. “Many, many countries, and I’ve been here the longest I’ve ever lived (somewhere).”

And the fact that October 14 is the last day to register to vote for most people in North Carolina isn’t lost on many.

“My paperwork is already filled out, so I’m on my way,” Donaghy said earnestly.

“You actually interrupted me as I was filling out my registration forms, so I’m really excited,” said Rachel Hare. She’s a recent college graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who was born in Britain but lived most of her life in the United States.

“This is my first time I’m able to check the yes box for becoming a citizen,” Hare said with a wide smile.

“This is my first time in my life I will be voting,” said Federico Negrerra who is from Uruguay.

“I never even voted in my country,” he added with a laugh.

While some Americans threaten to go to Canada because of this presidential election, these Americans don’t want to be anywhere else.

The International Festival in Raleigh starts each year with a naturalization ceremony. This year, volunteers were nearby to register new citizens to vote.

CBS North Carolina evening anchor Sean Maroney joined Red. David Price (NC 4th), NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson as speakers for the event.

International Focus, Inc. organizes the festival each year. CBS North Carolina is a proud sponsor.

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