Downtown Chapel Hill

Downtown Blog

What's Up with the International Flags on Franklin Street?


Have you seen the 25 international flags along Franklin Street? Check out this video of the Town crew putting the flags up this week.

The flags are up to celebrate the home countries of our fellow community members in Chapel Hill in advance of a new downtown event -  Near & Far. Near & Far - A Local Celebration of Global Culture is on Sunday, April 8th from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm on the 140 West Plaza in Downtown Chapel Hill.  

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Near & Far is a local celebration of our global community. Community and campus cultural groups will share their heritage through crafts, activities, and interactive experiences. Music, dance, and spontaneous performances will fill the stage and street.  Here’s a list of the performers, exhibitors, and food. The lively street party will have a variety of international food, tastings from downtown restaurants, interactive activities for kids, and much more.

The event is free and open to all, so be sure to spread the word to your friends and family by sharing our Facebook event

We believe this event will be a great success for our community and it will bring people together to share cultures and ideas. We wanted the flags to represent the home countries of our community members, so we used the Town’s census data and UNC international student admissions data to choose the flags.

The flags on Franklin Street are from Australia, Brazil, Burma, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Great Britain, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Syria, Thailand, and Turkey.  During the event, the Plaza will also have flags from Vietnam, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Sudan, Uganda, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Philippines.

After looking up at the flags, look down at the sidewalk! You'll see large, vinyl decals sharing the event information too. 

Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough flag poles or sidewalks available downtown to display the flags of all the nations. Imagine if there were, what a beautiful sight that would be! 

Some people may be disappointed that the flag of their ancestral heritage or home country is not up; and certainly, some flags may stir emotions or concerns for others because of the country it represents. Perhaps next year we can rotate the flags so additional countries are displayed. What countries could that be? Do you have other ideas about how to honor and celebrate our local communities’ global cultures throughout downtown?

We welcome your feedback and can’t wait to celebrate with you at Near & Far on Sunday, April 8 from 2-5 pm on the 140 West Plaza on Franklin Street!