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Music and Dance in Abundance at Holiday Folk Fair International

Oct. 26, 2009

Entertainers that span the globe will play a major role in the 66th annual Holiday Folk Fair International, America’s premiere multi-cultural festival, to be held Fri., Nov. 20 – Sun., Nov. 22, 2009, at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wis.


Performances in the All Nations Theater will include groups representing the Romanian, Thai, Turkish, Irish, Italian, and Greek communities, as well as Ballet Folklo′rico Huehuecoyotl, a Mexican dance group from Chicago that will perform Saturday and Sunday of Folk Fair. The stage will also allow attendees to experience different cultures through film, as movies will be shown daily on ethnic groups and countries that are not exhibiting at the Holiday Folk Fair International.


The Music Pavilion will once again enable attendees to enjoy a variety of styles, as a vast array of groups will perform throughout the day, including Ukrainian, Pomeranian, Czech-Slovak, Bulgarian, Polish, and African-American.


In addition, Native American flutist Darren Thompson of Ojibwe and Tohono O’odham heritage will perform all three days of the event in the Music Pavilion. A highly regarded musician, Thompson has performed in over 100 U.S. cities as a solo artist and has been said to have “the power to take you to another place.”


Thompson began mastering the Native American flute while studying at Marquette University, after receiving a traditional cedar flute as a gift while attending the Indian Summer Festival. In the past, Thompson has led protests and spoken out on issues such as stereotypes, social structures, environmental issues, history, and culture. His musical performances retain the philosophies by which he lives.


Thompson’s debut album, The Song of Flower, is inspired by his Anishnabe culture and homelands, the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe Nation. It is a collection of his original compositions, expressing both past and present Native American flute music. “We are responsible for our surroundings,” he said. “We must choose that responsibility as human beings.”


The International Stage will showcase the dancing talent of young ethnic group members, including Filipino, Norwegian, Donauschwaben, and Slovak.


The Coffee House provides those in attendance the opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee, espresso, or tea and baked goods, such as Italian biscotti or a Scottish scone, while listening to talented musicians from throughout the world. Acts scheduled to perform include Brian Bauman (American Folk music), Pommersche Spadeel (Pomeranian), Garlic Mustard Pickers (Irish), and Senora Bolero (Mexican).


Produced by the International Institute of Wisconsin, the event will provide attendees with an opportunity to “Celebrate the Weavings of Culture,” this year’s show theme. In addition, the event will recognize the International Year of Astronomy and the International Year of Natural Fibers.


The three-day event features an assortment of ethnic foods, music and dance performances, ethnic cultural displays, arts and crafts displays, and educational exhibits and demonstrations. Holiday Folk Fair International will host a United States Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony Sat., Nov. 21, at 10:30 a.m. and the eighth annual Around The World 5K Run/Walk Sun., Nov. 22, at 9 a.m.


New in 2009 will be a photo portrait display of the sky titled “The World at Night” a photo display recognizing the 35th Anniversary of the Resettlement of Refugees in Wisconsin, and a Peace Corps exhibit chronicling the 33-month stay of a Peace Corps volunteer through letters and photos.


The three-day event also features the All Nations Theater, with traditional music and dance by a variety of ethnic groups, with a Mexican dance group from Chicago serving as the stage’s featured attraction. The World Cafe will have traditional food dishes, the International Stage will have ethnic dances performed by young people, and the Music Pavilion offers a variety of music styles, including Darren Thompson, a Native American flutist.


Heritage Lane will offer unique traditions and customs through interactive exhibits, and the International Bazaar has cultural artifacts that create a unique shopping experience.


Hours on Fri., Nov. 20, are 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 21, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; and Sun., Nov. 22, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Admission is $8 in advance, and $10 at the door. Military personnel (with military ID) and children 5 and younger are admitted at no charge, with tickets for children ages 6-12 and seniors 62 and older $8 at the gate. A “Family Fun 4-Pack” of tickets for $28 is available at the International Institute of Wisconsin office and online at


Advance tickets for $8 are available through more than 50 Pick ‘n Save stores in southeastern Wisconsin and other select retail outlets. The complete list of advance ticket locations is available at


For more information on the 2009 Holiday Folk Fair International, call the International Institute of Wisconsin at 414-225-6225 or visit


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