Produced annually by the International Institute of Wisconsin the weekend before Thanksgiving, the three-day Holiday Folk Fair International celebrates the cultural heritage of the people living in southeastern Wisconsin, allowing Fair-goers the opportunity to learn the ways in which music, food, dance, and art are part of a culture’s history and traditions. The three-day event features the All Nations Theater with traditional music and dance, the World Café offering traditional dishes, the International Stage where young people perform their ethnic dances, the Music Pavilion and Coffee House with a variety of musical styles, Heritage Lane with unique traditions and customs through interactive exhibits, the International Bazaar where cultural artifacts create a unique shopping experience, a Cooking Demonstration Stage featuring local chefs preparing traditional cuisine, and various special attractions that tie into that year's event theme. Activities that are part of each year's event include the “Cultural Awareness Program” on Friday, with more than 3,000 fourth through eighth grade students and teachers attending the event for an opportunity to personally experience global connections through ethnic displays, workshops, mini language and genealogy classes, exhibits and demonstrations, music and dance performances, storytelling, food sampling, and a marketplace; the Naturalization Ceremony on Saturday, with approximately 300 individuals accepting the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship; and the Around The World 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, with race proceeds providing educational opportunities to help children take pride in their own cultures while developing respect and tolerance for other cultures.
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