Group organizes heritage event to celebrate diversity

Published 2:55 pm Saturday, October 17, 2009

In an effort to celebrate diversity, a group of local Blandin Foundation graduates is organizing a heritage festival for the end of November.

The festival, which is planned for Nov. 28 at Northbridge Mall, will give people of different heritages the opportunity to share information about their culture and traditions to others who may not know as much about them.

“We wanted to celebrate diversity in the city and try to get everyone together to see the different cultures,” said Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Susie Petersen, one of the organizers.

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Though the event is still more than a month away, organizers are hoping more people will volunteer to present a table for it. So far, Mexican, Norwegian, Native American, Scandinavian, Dutch, Czech, German and Burmese heritages will be represented, said Albert Lea public information officer Teresa Kauffmann, another organizer.

No one with Asian, Somali or Sudanese heritages have yet come forward to participate, Kauffmann noted.

As part of their presentation, people can choose whether to dress up in clothing of their heritage to go along with their table, or they can wear regular clothes, she added. They can show pictures, flags or clothing, to name a few ideas.

Entertainment, including Aztec dancing and Cuban dancing, is also planned for the event, which will go from 1 to 3 p.m.

Freeborn County Historical Museum Executive Director Pat Mulso said when she thinks about how Albert Lea is now compared to when it was first formed in the 1850s, she thinks it is not too different.

There were many different nationalities then, and there are many different nationalities now, Mulso said.

“Some of the nationalities have changed, but the issues are still the same,” Mulso said. “We all need to work together.”

People interested in participating can call Kauffmann at 377-4380.