Celebrating peace and harmony
The Holiday Folk Fair has many things going for it – decadent pastries and dishes from around the world, unusual gifts ready for giving, ethnic dancers and musicians from every corner of the globe.
But it is more than just food and fun. The Folk Fair is also a place to learn about other cultures and celebrate peace.
“We want the Fair to accomplish cultural awareness,” says Folk Fair Chairman Azmi Alaeddin.
“We’re uneasy with other cultures, but if you get to know the people of another culture through their music, you might hold their hand and dance. You might be afraid to try a new food, but overcome that fear and enjoy it. We need to know each other and establish peace.”
Alaeddin points to the power of the Folk Fair in turning strangers into friends.
“My father came from Kuwait to visit and he felt like a stranger. I took him to the Folk Fair and he loved it. He fit in there and enjoyed seeing all the traditional dress and food. He enjoyed seeing Americans from a different perspective, as all the cultures came together. From then on until he died, he would make sure his visits coincided with the fair.”
Another way the Holiday Folk Fair is bringing people together is through its partnership with the Hunger Task Force. Acknowledging that hunger is a problem that crosses all ethnicities, the fair will be collecting food at both entrances to the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park. Those who bring two non-perishable food items will receive a commemorative coffee mug. When the supply of mugs runs out, food donations will give visitors $2 off regular adult admission.
Now in it’s 67th year, the fair kicks off Friday, Nov.19, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 21. General admission is $10; admission for seniors and children, ages 6-12, is $8. Admission is free for children age 5 and under. For more information, visit the fair’s website or call 414-225-6225.
All photos were taken at the 2009 Holiday Folk Fair by Patti Wenzel