Holiday Folk Fair International
Press Release

Holiday Folk Fair International to Add Five to Wall of Fame

Hours on Fri., Nov. 16 are 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.; 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 17; and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sun., Nov. 18.

By - Nov 5th, 2018 04:32 pm

MILWAUKEE, WI – Five long serving individuals will be added to the Holiday Folk Fair International Volunteer Wall of Fame during the 75th annual event, which will be held Fri., Nov. 16 – Sun., Nov. 18, 2018, at the State Fair Park Exposition Center at in West Allis, Wis.

The following people will be recognized during the event’s opening ceremony at 5 p.m. on Fri., Nov. 16:

  • Maryann Brahm, through the Federated Slovak Societies, has participated in Folk Fair since 1955. She started as a folk dancer and then started working in the food booth. Brahm then worked in Slovak marketplace booth and then assumed responsibility for the organization’s cultural display, from which she demonstrated crafts. She also assisted in securing volunteers to staff the various areas on the show floor and she helped to set up the cultural exhibit and the sales booths.
  • Anna Pitzo, a volunteer through the Italian Community Center for 33 years, has worked and served as chair at one time or another for each area of participation by the Italian group at Holiday Folk Fair, including Culture, Sales, and Food. She has done cooking demonstrations during the event, and she has particularly enjoyed working with children. As an ambassador of Italian culture, Pitzo has traveled throughout the Milwaukee area sharing the story of La Befana, the Christmas witch. She has also played a prominent role in Festa Italiana since its inception.
  • A lifetime member of the United Donauschwaben of Milwaukee, Karen Schmieder has been a performer, dance director, and volunteer for the organization. She is a third generation member of the Donauschwaben, as well as a third generation Folk Fair volunteer, as her grandmother Catherine Kosack and mother Carol Keidl were active event participants. She started dancing with the group when she was three and she’s directed the adult dance group since 1996. Schmieder currently assists in Education Day programming, manages the music for the performance stages, and she coordinates the Sunday Children’s Matinee.
  • Participating in her 65th consecutive Holiday Folk Fair in 2018, Virginia Topitzes danced at her first Holiday Folk Fair with the KavKas Russian Dancers. Topitzes dedicated her life to dance, beginning when she was four years old. She studied ballet, tap, acrobatics and character dance and continued into adulthood adding ethnic dance and flamenco when she moved to Milwaukee in 1953. Her love of dance led her to establish the Iberian Spanish Dancers in 1958 and Dorian Greek Dancers in 1968. From 1975 to 1991, Topitzes served as Folk Fair, as she is a Certified Festival Executive, conferred by Purdue University and the International Festivals Association. She has also served as secretary of the USA Steering Committee for Council International of Folklore Festivals (CIOFF), a worldwide organization dedicated to the preservation and presentation of folk arts through research and festivals internationally. Topitzes is past president of the National Folk Organization of the USA and is a member of the International Council of Dance (CID) and the International Organization of Volkfests (IOV).
  • Anita Zeidler, who passed away on Sept. 3, 2018, was a member of the United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee, working for many years in a variety of capacities with the International Institute of Wisconsin (IIW), producers of Holiday Folk Fair International. For the last several years, she managed the United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee’s exhibit space at Folk Fair, presenting an attractive and informative display that coincided with the theme of that year’s event. This included making all arrangements for the exhibits’ activities for Education Day, as she was particularly devoted to international education as it related to children.

A program of the IIW, Holiday Folk Fair International celebrates the cultural heritage of the people living in southeastern Wisconsin. This year’s theme, “Celebrate the Culture of Diversity,” will allow Fair-goers the opportunity to honor a community of people bound together by common ties, such as language, customs and beliefs, by what they think, how they behave, what they value, and what they pass on to the next generation.

Special attractions in 2018 include invited international performers and artisans, photographic exhibits, the Artisan corner, the Milwaukee Art Museum presents Kohl’s Color Wheels, the Wisconsin Woodturners, the Dirty Kettle Native American interactive display, a bonsai exhibit, the Holiday Folk Fair Cinema, with viewings during the weekend of the Milwaukee PBS documentary “A Hope for Tomorrow” and “This Is Home,” the winner of the 2018 Sundance Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary, Milwaukee Public Museum on the Move daily presentations, and the annual Naturalization Ceremony on Fri., Nov. 16, at 2:30 p.m.

The three-day event features the All Nations Theater with traditional music and dance, the World Café offering traditional dishes, the International Stage where young people perform their ethnic dances, the Tanzhauz (Music Pavilion) where attendees dance and sing along with a variety of musical stylings, the Coffee House where patrons enjoy a beverage and baked goods while listening to talented musicians, Heritage Lane with unique traditions and customs through interactive exhibits, the International Bazaar where cultural artifacts create a unique shopping experience, and the Chef’s Stage featuring local chefs preparing traditional cuisine.

Hours on Fri., Nov. 16 are 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.; 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 17; and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sun., Nov. 18.

Admission at the gate will be $12 for adults; $8 for children ages 6 to 12; children under the age of five will be admitted at no charge. Those 62 and over will be admitted for $10, and all military personnel with a military ID card will be admitted free.

For more information on the 2018 Holiday Folk Fair International, visit or call the IIW at 414-225-6225.

Recent Press Releases by Holiday Folk Fair International

Ethnic Groups Honored for Holiday Folk Fair International Cultural Displays

Produced by the International Institute of Wisconsin, Holiday Folk Fair International provided attendees with an opportunity to “Celebrate the Culture of Diversity.”

Holiday Folk Fair International Advance Tickets Available

The event will be held Fri., Nov. 16 – Sun., Nov. 18, 2018, at the State Fair Park Exposition Center.

Special Events Highlight Holiday Folk Fair International

Advance tickets will be sold for $10 each, with family four-packs for $36

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