Opinion

World Fair Field festival planned Sept. 14

ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo

Organizers of the World Fair Field International Festival set up a booth during Fairfield First Fridays in Central Park to advertise this year’s festival, which will be Saturday, Sept. 14. From left in the photo are Ann Clifford, Kaye Jacob, Valerie Hirschhorn and Dave Thebodo.
ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Organizers of the World Fair Field International Festival set up a booth during Fairfield First Fridays in Central Park to advertise this year’s festival, which will be Saturday, Sept. 14. From left in the photo are Ann Clifford, Kaye Jacob, Valerie Hirschhorn and Dave Thebodo.
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World Fair Fairfield International Festival will return to Central Park this September after a successful inaugural year in 2018.

The festival, sponsored by the Fairfield Cultural Alliance, celebrates Fairfield’s diversity and global character. Last year’s event welcomed more than 600 attendees to the downtown, where educational booths representing 25 countries were set up. More than 50 musicians, dancers and other performers entertained the crowd all day.

Organizers are promising that this year’s festival will be every bit as grand as the last. The international cultural festival is scheduled for noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, on the square.

FCA board president Denyce Rusch said she is lining up musical groups to perform, and will be able to announce them later in the summer.

“Cultures represented in the show will include Latin American, African, Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, Mexican and Central American, plus German polka and even possibly Scandinavian,” Rusch said. “Our intention is to incorporate as much talented, local youth in the musical show. We want to draw from the rich musical talent in Jefferson County. Last year, 80 percent of performers were from right here, and that really showcases who we are.”

Last year’s event was free thanks to a grant from Humanities Iowa. Organizers are raising money to keep it free this year as well. They’ve set a fundraising goal of $20,000.

Just as in 2018, the event will have educational booths. Last year’s winning booth was India, followed by Iran in second and Fiji in third. Honorable mentions went to Italy, Hungary, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Attendees had the chance to sample from six different international food options in 2018, and more are planned for 2019.

“We are working to have a wide variety of food vendors as well, focusing on Jefferson County, but open to [other counties] as well,” Rusch said.

Rusch said the FCA is partnering with Fairfield Public Library to host a Passport Game, with Fairfield First Fridays to host lawn games, and with other groups for further demonstrations on the lawn. New this year will be a kiddie train ride that will be in the parade of nations from Howard Park to Central Park, and available to ride throughout the afternoon courtesy of Community 1st Credit Union.

On the following weekend of Saturday, Sept. 21 will be the International Day of Peace Celebration at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. In 2018, this event was held the day before the cultural festival. Rusch said the event on Sept. 21 will focus on service and cooperation between cultures.

For more information, visit the organization’s webpage at www.worldfairfield.org, or email the Fairfield Cultural Alliance at fairfieldculturalalliance@gmail.com.