Avid travelers know the importance of cultural mingling — that is, you really don't know a place until you've put down your guidebook and mingled with some locals. Carousing off the beaten paths, trying foods you’ve never heard of, browsing through bazaars with handcrafted goods and attending performances that showcase entertainment and costumes unique to specific regions turns a trip into a memorable experience. But for now, folks living in the Q.C. need not step beyond the Mecklenburg County line to get a taste of global diversity. At the Charlotte World Parade & Festival, more than 30 countries are represented through displays, music, dance, food and other special activities. Here's living proof that "It's a small world, after all." For more information, visit www.worldparadefestival.org.