My city has a huge international population, and every year we celebrate this by having a festival downtown by the river. While I've never actually been to WorldFest, I really want to go every year and it just doesn't work out. But I always look forward to seeing the photos that are posted on social media and on the city's website! While looking through the photos this weekend, I thought it would be fun to send the kids a letter about WorldFest.
In the letter, I explained a little about my city, and told the kids about the activities that take place. I wrote the letter in Word and had to tweak the phrasing and spacing a bit when I found out that even though I felt I had tried to be brief, I had run out of space. :) I also collected photos from the city's website and a couple of Google searches- there were so many to choose from! I hope that some of the kids especially like seeing their countries represented in the Parade of Nations! While this letter wouldn't make much sense to copy and send to your own kids unless you live in my city, I would really recommend checking with your local government to see if any similar events take place in your own town. WorldFest is the big, city-sponsored event each year, but there are also smaller events and celebrations put on by specific communities, too! Chances are, your own town has some sort of fun, multicultural event that you can learn about or even visit!
Here's the text of what I sent:
My city has many of its festivals and parties in the spring, before the Kentucky Derby horse race (which is a famous sporting event that draws many visitors and some celebrities to my town!) But each year in September, our city’s government hosts what they call World Fest (short for “festival.”) My city is home to many people who have moved to the United States from other countries. Some are very new, and other families have lived here for generations. This is reflected in everything from our local food to our architecture. Our city’s website says that more than 100 languages are spoken in our schools, and people from over 150 countries live here! The four day festival is a celebration of all the cultures represented in our city. I thought it would be fun to tell you about it.
The activities for the festival are held in the downtown area, which has many museums, tall buildings, and a lovely park by the river. Most of the events are at the park, where there is room for tents, tables, and stages. Musicians from all over the world perform music from their home countries, and the festival visitors can walk through the park and hear several different kinds of music being played at once! Some of these musicians are accompanied by dancers, such as flamenco dancers from Mexico or step dancing from Ireland. There are also booths where craftsmen and artisans sell goods from their country, like baskets, jewelry, or wood carvings. One really fun thing about the festival is the food. It is a chance to try foods and drinks from all over the world! Here are some examples of the foods that were available at this year’s festival: churros from Mexico; ice cream from Italy; juice from the Caribbean islands; dumplings from China; sushi from Japan; and many more! Also during the festival, the government has a naturalization ceremony. Do you know what that is? Naturalization means the process of becoming a citizen. People who want to become citizens of the United States must live here for several years, and then take a written exam, like you might have at school. The exam asks questions about American history and government. Then, when the exam is passed, people are “sworn in” (they take an oath, or make a promise) in a legal ceremony. We have many of these ceremonies throughout the year (and some even take place in our public libraries!) but I think this ceremony is extra special for two reasons: many people are becoming Americans at the same time, and also the celebration of the festival makes it very fun!
Another interesting part of the festival is the Parade of Nations, which takes place on the first day of the festival. At this time, people of my city dress in traditional clothing from their countries and march in a parade. It is always so exciting and interesting to see the costumes from the different countries. I am sending you several photos of the parade so you can see these different countries represented!
I always love learning about other cultures and countries, and this is part of the reason I love my city so much. Can you tell me about a festival or special event from your city? I would love to learn about it!