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Chicago Sister Cities International Festival
Fair-trade fashion from festival vendor Mata Traders.

In honor of the global spirit of the Olympics, forget your usual chopped salad shop one day this week and take a lunch break at the Chicago Sister Cities International Festival, which starts today and continues through Friday at Daley Plaza. (Festival hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)

The around-the-world village is free and open to the public, and a lineup of fashion and jewelry merchants represent Chicago?s 28 sister cities from Mexico City to Delhi and beyond. In the lobby of the Daley Center, a corresponding photo exhibit titled ?Kizuna: The Bonds of Emotion? documents the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake along with recovery efforts.

Local Greek, Ukrainian, Colombian and Polish restaurants are manning the food stations, and musical performances go off daily at noon and 12:30 p.m. (We?re looking forward to Wednesday?s, which contrasts the high-flying feats of Cirque Shanghai with the toe-tapping talents of the Trinity Irish Dancers.)

For those of us who tend to leave the ?break? out of our lunches, it sounds like an eye-opening escape.

Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St.; 312-201-4525 or

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