Special Exhibits and Displays Showcased at Holiday Folk Fair International

Nov. 7, 2012

A variety of special events and exhibits will be highlighted throughout the grounds at the 69th annual Holiday Folk Fair International, America’s premiere multi-cultural festival, to be held Fri., Nov. 16 – Sun., Nov. 18, 2012, at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wis.

A photo exhibit titled “One World, One People” will feature the photography of Rodger Randle. The exhibit will feature cultural photography that explores the common values universal throughout the world, depicting how basic human values are the same regardless of culture, even though people, look, talk, live, and dress differently. A former Mayor of Tulsa, Randle is a professor in the Graduate College of the University of Oklahoma and Director of the Center for Studies in Democracy and Culture.

For more than 20 years, Sister Cities International has given youth from around the globe the opportunity to artistically express their vision for a more unified peaceful world. The winning writing, photographs, and paintings from the 2012 Sister Cities International Young Artists and Authors Showcase will be on display at Folk Fair. These individuals from around the world submitted a variety of visual media, poetry, and essays on the theme of “Youth as a Catalyst for Change.” The winners demonstrated a high level of talent, effort, passion, and dedication in their work, reaffirming the power of youth in fostering positive change in society.

Representatives of Old World Wisconsin will be at the event throughout the weekend with a display that highlights how families lived in Europe in the 1800s. The oldest methods of food preservation that were common will be discussed, such as pickling, drying, and how to make sauerkraut. In addition, a variety of the foods, spices, and herbs used during the 1800s will be part of the exhibit. Old World utensils such as cabbage cutter, mortar and pestle, rolling pin, spider pan (frying pan on legs), and butter molds will be demonstrated, while blacksmithing tools will be displayed. Flax spinning will be demonstrated, which take the long fibers from the flax plant and spins the fibers into thread or yarn using a wheel similar to what is used with wool. In addition, hand woven fabric and hand spun yard will be on display.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites photo exhibit features a selection of photographs of World Heritage sites, of which there are currently 962 places around the world that have been awarded prestigious World Heritage status by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. These sites, from Algeria, Australia, China, Columbia, Ethiopia, Mali, Mexico, and the United States, are some of the planets most unique and significant locations and are places of both natural and cultural importance.

A group of Uzbekistan artisans will be participating in Folk Fair, featuring Makhfuza Salimova, a champion gold embroiderer from Bukhara. Embroidering since she was seven-years-old, Salimova is a fourth generation embroiderer. After finishing secondary school, she started work at the Bukhara gold embroidery factory, the only one in Uzbekistan, eventually becoming director. Salimova has participated in many exhibitions worldwide, including the Santa Fe Folk Art Market, and she has been awarded prizes at many events in Uzbekistan and abroad. A member of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan and the International Organization of Folk Art in Austria, Salimova also participates in Craftsmen Exchange programs.

In addition to Salimova, there will be masters of Tashkent embroidery, beadwork, woodcarving, and a traditional chef who will conduct demonstrations on the Callen Construction cooking stage.

The Callen Construction Cooking Stage will feature representatives of several of the ethnic groups participating in Folk Fair conducting cooking demonstrations of traditional foods from the country they represent, with an explanation of the culture as the conduct the cooking demo. Representatives of The Spice House in Milwaukee will discuss the history of the spice trade, revealing historical facts and fascinating tales of piracy, adventures, and wars battled to control the spice trade.

The Wisconsin Woodturners will have its annual display, with several woodturners conducting demonstrations throughout each day. Fair-goers will be able to get a close look at the woodturning process and browse products, such as bowls, sculptures, vases, and more. Kids will also be able to play with a tongue drum, a wooden musical instrument with slits.

The Artisan Corner, sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, will include local vendors demonstrating their craft throughout the weekend.

Folk Fair attendees will have the opportunity to learn about and enjoy bonsai trees from the Milwaukee Bonsai Society. Some of the bonsai trees will be colorful, and others will have already dropped their leaves. The trees will range in size and age, with some trees up to 80 years old. Children will also be given a card with various styles of bonsai trees, so they can find and identify the different trees on display, plus attendees will be able to vote on their favorite tree.

Heritage Lane allows attendees to take a leisurely stroll and discover traditional and unique customs from around the world by interacting with diverse cultures that are brought to life through ethnic exhibits, including displays by the Czech, Italian, Mexican, Pomeranian, Slovenian, and Welsh groups.

Skilled artisans from distant lands have created characteristic treasures to be on display in the International Bazaar, providing a distinguishing shopping experience. Attendees will find products from a variety of ethnicities, including the Chinese, Filipino, Finnish, Japanese, Norwegian, and Polish.

For more information on the 2012 Holiday Folk Fair International, visit www.folkfair.org or call the International Institute of Wisconsin at 414-225-6220.

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