• Public Museum Host Free Ethnic Heritage Festival

Ethnic Heritage Festival

Bearing the name of a new title sponsor, the Public Museum’s annual event – the DTE Energy Foundation Ethnic Heritage Festival,  will be held Saturday, February 7, 2009 from 9 am – 6 pm.  Visitors will receive free admission to the Museum to enjoy music, dance, crafts, displays and food representing various ethnic groups that call West Michigan home. 

The Planetarium will present gratis Everybody’s Sky: Star Stories from Around the World at 11 am, and 1, 2, 3 and 4 pm.  Guest can also view the Museum’s permanent exhibit “Newcomers: The People of This Place” which highlights over forty ethnic groups and looks at the personal journey stories of people who’ve settled in the greater Grand Rapids area.  Carousel rides will also be free.

Colorful and varied performances are scheduled throughout the day on two different stages.  Guests will enjoy the talents of Irish, Pacific Island, Chinese and Indian dance groups; the voices of GVSU/Gospel Choir; Edwin Joseph on the steel drum; and Dave O’Neil on the bagpipes and Irish flute.  Visitors can listen to storytellers and participate in craft demonstrations.  A variety of ethnic foods will be available for purchase, and visitors over the age of 21 can sample beers from around the world (including Belgium, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Ireland and Japan) from 1-4 pm for just $6.  A showcase of traditional and modern ethnic fashions beginning at 12:30 pm will be emceed by Eva Aguirre Cooper, Community Affairs Director for WOOD TV, WOTV and WXSP.

Members of ethnic organizations will man display tables throughout the three floors of the Museum, sharing their unique cultures with guests.  Groups include the Edelweiss Club, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Chinese Association of West Michigan, Congress of North American Bosniaks, Finnish American Society of West Central Michigan, Gaelic League, Grand Rapids Scottish Society, Grand Rapids Sister Cities International, Latvian Association of Grand Rapids, Lithuanian American Community, Mexican Heritage Association, Philippine Cultural Group of Michigan, Polish Heritage Sons of Norway and the Swedish American Society.

You can see photos from last year’s Festival at http://www.tapestry.wnj.com/?p=40.

Here is the schedule for the day:

9:00 AM           Doors Open

10:30               Bosnian Children’s Dance Group

11 am – Noon   Henna Tattoo Art

11:30               Dave O’Neil Irish Music

Noon                Folkloric Dance

12:30 – 1:30 pm           Ethnic Fashion Show

1:00                 Book signing of Historic Photos of Grand Rapids

1 – 4 pm           Tasting of Beers from Around the World

1:30                 India Folk Dance and Bosnian Folk Craft

2:00                 Ardán School of Irish Dance

2:30                 Voices of GVSU Gospel Choir  and  Gaelic League – St. Brigid’s Cross3:00                 Pacific Island Dancers                        Book signing of Field Guide to Ethnic Groups in West Michigan with Chris Carron and Veronica Kandl3:45                 Steel Drums4:30                 Chinese Association Performance

5:00                 Badacuda Club Drum Group

6:00                 Museum Closes

Participating Organizations:

Ancient Order of Hibernians 
Asian Center
Bayard Gallery of African American Art & Books
Chinese Association of West Michigan
City of Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission  
Congress of North American Bosniaks
Edelweiss Club
Finnish American Society of West Central Michigan
Gaelic League
Grand Rapids Historical Commission 
Grand Rapids Historical Society
Grand Rapids Public Library 
Grand Rapids Scottish Society
Grand Rapids Sister Cities International
Grand Rapids Theological Seminary
Latvian Association of Grand Rapids
Lithuanian American Community
Mexican Heritage Association
Philippine Cultural Group of Michigan
Polish Heritage Society and Bodacious Babes Emporium
Sons of Norway
Swedish American Society
Vietnamese Group – Multicultural Language School
Western Michigan Genealogical Society