People from all over the country who love to dance are what have made the Karmiel Dance Festival special since it started in the hilly Galilee town 21 years ago. From the moment the festival kicks off on July 22 to the moment it ends on July 24, those who love Israeli folk dance can foot it for 72 hours straight, guided by some 30 experienced instructors. This year, this most Israeli of festivals celebrates the country's 60th birthday via a retrospective of Israeli dance from 1948 to the present day, yet the central event - Let Us Grow in Peace - is a poignant reminder that for most of those 60 years, our land has known conflict. At the Karmiel amphitheater on July 23, Let Us Grow will showcase 3,000 children from all over the country in a mosaic of dances choreographed especially for them, and it will feature singers such as Tal Mosseri and Yoav Yitzhak. Fireworks complete both the opening and closing events at the amphitheater. After a colorful parade, Signposts (July 22), created by festival artistic director Shlomo Maman, presents 60 years of dance styles while Karmiel 2008 (July 24) shows the best of the 60 years by the best of the choreographers. But Karmiel also features other kinds of dance - from classic to contemporary to ethnic. Visitors from abroad include Spanish flamenco great Rafael Amargo with Intimate (July 23); the Ballet Szeged from Hungary with Carmina Burana (July 22 and 23) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (July 22); El Colegio del Cuerpo's The Other Messenger, on the growth of feminine power, from Colombia; and the centuries-old Kuchipudi dance of South India performed by Guru V. Kashi in The Joy of Rhythm (July 24); all at the newly upgraded auditorium. At each festival venue - the auditorium, the amphitheater, the stadium, Mofet, Baruch Center and the sports hall - there will be performances by local companies such as Vertigo, the Tel Aviv Dance Company (formerly DeDe Dance), and shows like Other Days, from the 30+ dance company and Young Morning, from four young choreographers. In addition, amateur and semi-professional folklore companies from home and abroad, such as Ethnimix (from all over) and Athanasia (from Cyprus) will perform, and there will be tributes to songwriting and performing greats such as Sarale Sharon, Hagashash Hahiver, Naomi Polani and Yoram Taharlev. And at the more-popular-than ever dance contest, some 30 competitors offer dances on the theme of women in song. There are some 80 different events, excluding the dancing. Performances start at 11 a.m. and end after midnight. Tickets range from NIS 20 to 130 (for Amargo), but many of the events are free. Karmiel is a fun festival for the whole family - look it up at www.karmielfestival.co.il in English.