Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Festival celebrates Faribault’s cultural diversity August 20, 2015

Adding to the artsy aspect of Car Cruise Night, was this colorful attire worn by Faribault

Faribault is becoming an ever diverse community as shown in this photo from a recent Friday evening Car Cruise Night. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo July 2015.

Neighbor meeting neighbor.

I like that phrase tagged by the International Festival Faribault planning committee to an event celebrating my community’s cultural diversity.

Conversation and connecting..., no other words necessary.

Conversation and connecting…, no other words necessary for this photo taken at a previous fest. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

When we personalize, then we begin to see beyond the differences. We see individuals rather than skin color or clothing. We hear the person and not the language. We connect. We become neighbors.

A member of Ollin Ayacaxtli dances at Faribault's International Market Day celebration.

A member of Ollin Ayacaxtly Aztec Dancers performs at a previous International Festival Faribault, Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, August 22, the Faribault community comes together in Central Park for this 10th annual celebration of diversity. International Festival Faribault aims to promote an understanding between cultures and to unite the community with music, dance, art, ethnic foods and merchandise.

A little girl stands on the opposite side of the group of children waiting to swing at the pinata.

A little girl stands on the opposite side of the group of children waiting to swing at the pinata during the 2012 festival. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo. I won first place for this image in the “personal heritage” category of the 2014 Faribault Heritage Days Photo Contest.

I’ve attended the festival numerous times and delight in this opportunity to meet others, to sample ethnic foods, to listen to music, to check out the art and more. My favorite has always been observing children gathered to break pińatas. It is then that I see the possibilities for Faribault. We can learn from these kids who care not about differences but rather are focused as one on a single goal.

On Saturday, let that goal be neighbor meeting neighbor.

A woman, without my prompting, took this mask from the table manned by Bashir Omar and Asher Ali and asked me to photograph her.

Art showcased by a vendor at the 2012 festival. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Here’s the International Festival Faribault entertainment schedule:

  • 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. – Steve Huber on acoustic guitar
  • 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.- Otto & Celia – Guatemalan singers on keyboard; Patti Letona – Guatemalan singer; and Eliana Tobar – El Salvadorian singer
  • 11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Selvin – Guatemalan dancer
  • 11:45 a.m. – noon – Children’s Dance Performance by Florecitas de Dios
  • noon – 1 p.m. – Ollin Ayacaxtly Aztec Dancers
  • 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. – Flag Ceremonies (national anthems and salutes)
  • 2 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – South Sudanese music and dancers
  • 2:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Cambodian dancers
  • 3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Hula Hoop Performance by Adrienne Lee
  • 3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. – Breaking of piñatas

FYI: Admittance to International Festival Faribault is free.

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16 Responses to “Festival celebrates Faribault’s cultural diversity”

  1. oconeemama Says:

    Where are the Czechs, Germans, Norwegians, and Poles in this event? I wonder if the newcomers to Faribault want to study the cultural history of their adopted town and state?

    • I expect many of the nationalities you name will attend the event. And some in the entertainment line-up, such as Steve Huber and Adrienne Lee, I do not believe are newcomers. In the flag ceremony, all the nationalities of Faribault are represented. There are many vendors from many ethnic backgrounds. Some have lived in Faribault for a long time.

    • Lisa Simons Says:

      In the past, I’ve bought my daughter lefse here. But people need to approach us (I’m on the board now). We invite everyone to participate! I, for one, wouldn’t mind digging into Czech sausage and/or German spaetzle, and Polish pierogi is delightful! And wouldn’t it be cool to see dancing or hear music from these cultures? Please consider next year if you can make some of these treats or if you’re musically inclined!

  2. You know me I love learning about culture and people and places and history. I recently became permanent at the organization I was contracting at. During new hire orientation the President of the organization spoke about how proud he is and that we should be proud as well due to the diversity of our organization. This organization is ranked #2 right behind Publix Grocery Stores and has the most diverse population of employees. Pretty Cool I say! By being open and educating myself I have met some pretty amazing people from all over the world. There is a commonality in every one of us if we take the time to discover it!

    Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    As always, Audrey, your photography brings the color of culture to life.

  4. Jackie Says:

    This is such a neat festival, It’s pretty awesome that Faribault celebrates the different cultures and ethnicities that represent your town. Great photo’s as always! Hope the weather is perfect!

  5. Lovely post again Audrey. I do love festivals that celebrate cultural diversity. Womad is one of my favourite festivals that they have here in New Zealand. Thanks.


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