May 4 Festival of Nations celebrates peace

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – February 11, 2014 – Festival of Nations, Minnesota’s largest multi-cultural celebration, returns to Saint Paul RiverCentre Thursday, May 1through Sunday, May 4. This year’s theme, Peace Among the People, will be seen throughout the Festival. Thousands of

students experience the festival on Thursday and Friday, and the public is invited to attend Friday afternoon through Sunday. Ride Metro Transit’s light-rail and busses to Festival of Nations for free on Saturday and Sunday with a “Go Greener Pass” available for download at Discounted advanced tickets and World Passes (admission for all days of the festival) will be available between March 21and April 30, and after that, full price tickets will be available at the RiverCentre Box Office. There will also be a special Military Night on Friday, May 2, with $10 tickets available for active and retired military men and women with valid ID.
New this year, Festival of Nations is hosting an Art Slam competition on Saturday featuring six first-generation American artists creating artwork inspired by the festival’s theme, Peace Among the People. Also in line with the theme, the Peace Bell will be on loan from Duluth, bringing its story of war, forgiveness, and friendship. There will also be a Peace Path for people to walk, as well as a Peace Coffee pop-up shop.
During the three public days, Festival of Nations invites people of all ages to Think Global, Celebrate Local with their friends and family. The festival brings together people from a vast array of backgrounds to celebrate their ethnic heritage, learn about other cultures and enjoy great food. Through exhibits, food, music, dance, and personal connections, Festival of Nations provides a look into the traditions, history and journey of over 90 ethnic groups, and sheds light on how each one contributes to the American cultural landscape.
Advance tickets are $11 for adults, $8 for youth 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under, and are available between March 21 and April 30 at the International Institute of Minnesota and at Byerly’s Food Stores. During the event, tickets are available at the RiverCentre Box Office for $13.50 for adults, $8 for youth 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under. A World Pass, good for admission all days of the Festival, is a great value at $18 for adults and $12 for youth. NOTE: The World Pass is only available in advance at the International Institute of Minnesota March 21 through April 30.
Highlights for 2014
ENTERTAINMENT – Over 100 dancers and musicians perform on three stages throughout the Festival. On Friday, May 2, the Ticket to Brasil will perform a special concert from 7 to 10 p.m. on the Café Stage, free with festival admission.

CULTURAL EXHIBITS – Community members will showcase their distinctive cultures through 52 special exhibits. Festival visitors can pick up a Festival of Nations Passport to be stamped at each stop.

ETHNIC CAFÉS – From Palestinian falafel to Colombian tamales to Tibetan mo-mos and Norwegian lefse, enjoy fare served around the world at 32 ethnic food cafés. Proceeds from each café benefit local non-profit organizations.

ETHNIC DEMONSTRATIONS – Community members will showcase their distinctive cultures through interactive exhibits. This is a fun and interactive activity for the whole family! Many folk artisans practicing crafts passed down through generations and interactive, educational demonstrations will be featured in over 26 different booths.
INTERNATIONAL BAZAAR – Shopping from around the globe with booths representing 68 countries, with imported gifts including clothing, jewelry and artifacts from many cultures.

INTERNATIONAL BEER EXPERIENCE – Last year’s inaugural event was such a hit that it’s coming back for another year. Patrons 21+ can enjoy beers from around the world and visit with Festival of Nations beer experts.

NATURALIZATION CEREMONY – On Friday evening, in the Bazaar Courtyard, Festival of Nations visitors can watch as 15 people become U.S. citizens. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m.

ART SLAM - Saturday features the festival’s first Art Slam, where six first-generation American artists will go head-to-head, creating artwork inspired by the festival’s theme, Peace Among the People.

Festival hours:
Friday, May 2 – 4  – 10 p.m.
Saturday, May 3 – 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday, May 4 – 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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