A variety of special events and exhibits will be highlighted throughout the grounds at the 66th annual Holiday Folk Fair International, America’s premiere multi-cultural festival, to be held Fri., Nov. 20 – Sun., Nov. 22, 2009, at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wis.
The World Cafe will offer an assortment of time-honored recipes passed down through generations, introducing patrons to distinct and extraordinary flavors designed to awaken taste buds. Arab, Bavarian, Czech, Danish, Greek, Slovak, Taiwanese, and Turkish ethnic groups will be among the many that will participate in this area.
Heritage Lane allows attendees to take a leisurely stroll and discover traditional and unique customs from around the world by interacting with diverse cultures that are brought to life through ethnic exhibits, including displays by the Chinese, Egyptian, Indian, Latvian, Mexican, Native American, and Romanian groups.
Skilled artisans from distant lands have created characteristic treasures to be on display in the International Bazaar, providing a distinguishing shopping experience. Attendees will find products from a variety of ethnicities, including the Bolivian, Irish, Norwegian, Polish, and Russian groups.
The All Nations Theater will feature traditional music and dance by performance groups representing, among others, the Thai, Scottish, Italian, Bulgarian, Irish, and Latvian cultures.
The International Stage is a family favorite, as select youth groups perform ethnic dances, including those representing Slovak, Donauschwaben, Norwegian, and Ukrainian troops.
Featured local artists in the Music Pavilion include Pomeranian, Polish-Syena, Turkish, Greek-Dorian, and American Heritage. They will be joined by a variety of other groups that will have audiences singing along and dancing.
A group of four Uzbekistan artists will be displaying and creating a variety of tapestries at Folk Fair. Featured is Rustam Usmanov, who has painted, decorated, and made patterns for the production lines while working as the Chief Artist in the ceramic factory in his home village of Rishtan, Uzbekistan, where he lives with his wife and children. After 16 years, when the factory closed, he opened his own studio and began producing his own work, which is now represented in the collections of major museums in Russia, including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Museum of the East in Moscow, and the Museum of Ethnography in Kazan, as well as the Museum of the Art Institute in Tashkent where he studied. Usmanov taught his family the art of pottery making, and employs eight workers in his studio, mostly family members.
Joining Usmanov is Mahfuza Salimova, who is considered a hereditary embroiderer, as she comes from a long line of gold embroiderers and learned the craft of weaving with gold embroidery threads from her parents, among others. The recipient of “Best Woman-Entrepreneur” from the President of Uzbekistan, she is one of the most experienced women-masters in the city of Bukhara, the largest center of gold embroidery in the Republic. Salimova heads the Sadbarg Center, where 100 gold embroiderers are trained in the secrets of the craft. She and her pupils embroider articles of clothing, sketches, pictures, miniatures, and other works of art that decorate the walls of palaces, theatres, offices, and embassies.
Emphasizing the unity of the planet under one sky, “The World at Night” is an exhibit of night sky photography taken from all around the world. Holiday Folk Fair attendees can study and compare the images, which feature the world’s landmarks and symbols of different nations and regions under stunning celestial landscapes. The World at Night is a special project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009.
A Wisconsin native Peace Corps volunteer will share the photos she took and the letters she wrote depicting her experiences in Lesotho, Africa. A teacher trainer at Lesotho College of Education at Peace Corps Lesotho, she was a volunteer for the past three years. The letters and photos in the exhibit provide an overview on the challenging, fulfilling assignment that took place in an impoverished mountain country in the southern part of Africa. During her time in Lesotho, she coordinated regional teacher workshops for 120 primary school teachers to assist their teaching of Life Skills training and HIV/AIDS testing, plus she directed classroom observations in 27 schools.
Visitors can experience a living history of the Revolutionary War, as the Northwest Territory Alliance presents an encampment, complete with participants dressed in authentic uniforms portraying everyday life in a 1776 army camp.
The Holiday Folk Fair International’s annual “Cultural Awareness Program” on Fri., Nov. 20, will give fourth through eighth grade students an opportunity to personally experience global connections through ethnic displays, workshops, mini language and genealogy classes, exhibits and demonstrations, music and dance performances, storytelling, food sampling, and a marketplace.
More than 300 individuals will accept the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship by participating in the Holiday Folk Fair International’s annual Naturalization Ceremony on Sat., Nov. 21, at 10:30 a.m.
An interdenominational religious service that brings a variety of ethnic groups together will be held Sun., Nov. 22, at 10:30 a.m. and is open to the public.
Produced by the International Institute of Wisconsin, Holiday Folk Fair International will provide attendees with an opportunity to “Celebrate the Weavings of Culture,” this year’s show theme.
The three-day event features an assortment of ethnic foods, music and dance performances, ethnic cultural displays, arts and crafts displays, and educational exhibits and demonstrations.
Holiday Folk Fair International will host the seventh annual Around The World 5K Run/Walk on Sun., Nov. 22, at 9 a.m.
Hours on Fri., Nov. 20, are 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 21, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; and Sun., Nov. 22,
10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Admission is $8 in advance, and $10 at the door. Military personnel (with military ID) and children 5 and younger are admitted at no charge, with tickets for children ages 6-12 and seniors 62 and older $8 at the gate. A “Family Fun 4-Pack” of tickets for $28 is available at the International Institute of Wisconsin office and online at www.folkfair.org. Advance tickets for $8 are available through more than 50 Pick ‘n Save stores in southeastern Wisconsin.
For more information on the 2009 Holiday Folk Fair International, including advance ticket outlets, call the International Institute of Wisconsin at 414-225-6225 or visit www.folkfair.org.
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