Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Folk Fair

There are certain field days that all GEA students look forward to every year. The first being the Sailing trip taken in the first few weeks of school, and the next being the annual trek to Milwaukee for the Holiday Folk Fair. Housed on Milwaukee’s west side at the State Fair Exposition Center, students have the opportunity to meet and greet hundreds of people from countries and cultures all over the world. Each student was given a Passport that they could get stamped for every country or culture they “visited,” and energy was high as the kids streamed off the bus and congregated in their designated groups. The fair was set up into four different sections. The outer ring was lined with booths decorated specific to their occupant’s origins, most complete with traditional dress, artwork, music, toys and historical information. Conversing with the occupants gave students a peak into the past, as well as insight into the present conditions that different people around the world face every day. Inside the ring of booths were a shopping center, a food bazaar, and several performance and workshop spaces. In the shopping center, students purchased unique items made from all corners of the globe. Mrs. Hunter was able to find many different patterns of socks from Latvia spun from pure wool and knit by the same person who sold them to her. Kylie bought a winter hat lined with fur from the Philippines, Claire purchased a bindi from India and chopsticks from Japan, and Brian purchased a Mexican sombrero and a whistle from Belize. The workshop section offered mini lessons in languages, dance, and cultural crafts, as well as exhibits in art, photography and global pastimes. The food bazaar, which was my favorite section of the fair, was filled with delicious treats and foods that our students may probably never have been able to try anywhere else,  unless they traveled to those specific countries. Diana tested a Philippine Manapua, which is a cooked chicken baked inside sweet bread. Brian ate an entire string of Greek ribbon cookies, and Andre sampled some French Crepes. “My favorite part of Folk Fair was the food!” Says Kristen. “I like looking at what each culture eats.” Brannon’s favorite part of Folk Fair was also the food, “because I was able to eat things from countries I’d never even heard of.” In the performance area, students were able to see traditional dances and musical numbers performed by people in costume, many of them the students’ own age. “I liked watching the dancing,” says Savannah, “because the boys and girls dance together and it’s very fancy, not like it is here.” All of the performances were set in front of a large American flag. This was a powerful message not only about our cultural diversity but also our bond and unity as Americans. I’m sure it was meant to say that no matter what country or culture you hail from, we are all one people.


  1. This is a great blog! Keep up the good work and thank you, Mika, for keeping parents in the loop! These are really cool things that the kids are doing. I hope all parents have the chance to sneak a peek at the school's blog. I just happened to stumble across it!

  2. I agree with Jen, great job Mika! This is so cool to see and read about the kids adventures. I sure appreciate your work on this.
    Julie Dosogne