Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Part II: A close-up look at the International Festival Faribault August 25, 2015

Attendees watch the flag ceremony staged in the Central Park Bandshell.

Attendees watch the flag ceremony staged in the Central Park Bandshell.

THE FLAGS OF AMERICA, Sudan, Honduras, Ireland, Norway and 13 other countries, plus the United Nations, whipped in the wind Saturday afternoon at Faribault’s Central Park as folks gathered to celebrate my community’s cultural diversity.

A Cambodian

Cambodian refugee Sam Ouk, right, holds his country’s flag.

It was a day of connecting cultures through the International Festival Faribault.

Cambodian dancers.

Cambodian dancers.

An Aztec dancer

An Ollin Ayacaxtly Aztec Dancer.

An Aztec drummer.

An Aztec drummer.

Connecting through music and dance,

KIds (and some adults) created flags.

Kids (and some adults) created flags.

Attendees marked a world map with their countries of origin.

Attendees marked a world map with their countries of origin.

River Bend Nature Center showed up with several critters, including a snake and turtle.

River Bend Nature Center showed up with several critters, including a snake and turtle.

hands-on activities,

One of many vendors offering ethnic foods.

One of many vendors offering ethnic foods.

One of my favorite foods, a spicy wrapped Somali

One of my favorite foods, a spicy Somalian Samosa.

Vendors of Cambodian food.

Vendors of Cambodian food.

sampling of ethnic foods,

Cambodian art.

Cambodian art.

Supplies for face painting.

Supplies for face painting.

Lots of kids got their faces painted.

Lots of kids got their faces painted.

Cambodian art.

Cambodian art.

art,

The bouncy house, a popular place for kids.

The bouncy house, a popular place for kids.

The bouncy house was a popular spot for the youngsters.

Inside the bouncy house.

An impromptu dance.

An impromptu dance.

play

Author Joseph L. Mbele

Joseph L. Mbele, author and Associate Professor of English at St. Olaf College in Northfield, marketed his books and represented Tanzania at the festival.

and more.

Months-old Santiago was there with his family.

Months-old Santiago was there with his family.

This teen represented Somalia.

This teen represented Somalia.

Five-month-old Audrianna was at the fest with her parents and siblings.

Five-month-old Audrianna was at the fest with her parents and siblings.

From babes only months old to elders, this event drew all ages interested in meeting those people who call my southeastern Minnesota community home.

Kids run, adults mingle and all learn about each other.

Kids run, adults mingle and all learn about each other.

We are no longer mostly just the descendants of European immigrants. But rather, we are a mix of peoples—some from war-torn lands—who have settled here. Saturday’s festival offered the opportunity to learn more about one another.

Kids could color graphics on a map of Minnesota that highlights points of interest.

Kids could color graphics on a map of Minnesota that highlights points of interest.

And that is good. For when we learn, we begin to understand each other. We begin to see each other as neighbors living in this place called Faribault, Minnesota.

A steady flow of attendees

A steady flow of attendees browsed the merchandise, sampled food and more.

FYI: Please click here to read my first post about the 10th annual International Festival Faribault.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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18 Responses to “Part II: A close-up look at the International Festival Faribault”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Lovely pictures as always. The samosas look amazing and that pincushion looks very familiar. 🙂

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    I love the vibrant colors all cultures employ.

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    In smaller towns, these types of events are rare to find. A wonderful opportunity to educate on a very personal level of interaction that may become actual friendships! Our diversity is almost nil (in Houston) and the problems that give the newspapers their headlines focus on the few who serve to support division. Thanks for the beautiful post!!!!!

  4. Almost Iowa Says:

    I agree about the colors…Wow! It is almost like that is the point of the festival – to celebrate the colors of life. Looks like you had great weather too.

  5. Sue Ready Says:

    what a great opportunity to get know members of your community better.

    As always your words…And that is good. For when we learn, we begin to understand each other. We begin to see each other as neighbors living in this place called Faribault, Minnesota.

    are able to capture the spirit of this community event in words and photos. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Great Captures – there is nothing better than expanding and experiencing culture, people, art, food, the colors, generations, the stories etc. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing – Happy Day – Enjoy!

  7. Jackie Says:

    Again… a great post featuring this awesome event. I love the idea of “pinning” the county on the world map 🙂

  8. hotlyspiced Says:

    I want a samosa! And we call a ‘bouncy house’ a ‘jumping castle’. It looks like even the weather cooperated with this event. I’m glad it all worked out so well. It looks like the people of Fairbault are very welcoming of all the new arrivals xx

    • Oh, yes, you would have enjoyed the ethnic foods, Charlie. It’s always interesting to me how things are sometimes termed differently depending on where you live.

      Yes, this event really promotes embracing one another. Unfortunately, that is not a blanket portrayal of how my community feels about new arrivals. There are plenty of unwelcome vibes.

  9. Joseph Mbele Says:

    I did not see this blog post earlier, but, as usual, you recorded the event very well in photos and words. I greatly appreciate the photo you took of me and my books.


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