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Finnish American Society Presents Peace Pole Project At Holiday Folk Fair

Oct. 26, 2010

In keeping with this year’s Holiday Folk Fair theme, “Celebrate the Culture of Peace,” the Finnish American Society of Milwaukee is inviting visitors to its cultural booth at the event to contribute a message for its Peace Pole Project.

The 67th annual Holiday Folk Fair International will be held Fri., Nov. 19 – Sun., Nov. 21, 2010, at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wis.

Peace Poles are handcrafted monuments erected the world over as international symbols of peace. Their purpose is to spread the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in the languages of the world.

“Every year we try to tie our cultural booth to the Holiday Folk Fair theme,” said Shannon Wilfert, a member of the Finnish American Society and booth coordinator. “We thought the peace pole project was a way of getting involved in something bigger than just our community.”

The Peace Pole has been special ordered, and it will be inscribed with the message, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in four languages – English Finnish, Swedish, and Sami. The Sami are Europe’s only indigenous people whose ancestral nomadic roaming bridged Finland, Norway and Sweden.

At the Holiday Folk Fair, Wilfert will have materials on hand for people to post their message, which then will be placed on a large banner inscribed with the Finnish word for peace. The banner will then be on display at next year’s Holiday Folk Fair.

The Peace Pole itself will have a dedication ceremony. While it is not finalized yet, Wilfert hopes it will be at Salolampi, the Finnish immersion center at Concordia Language Village in Bemidji, Minn.

The booth will also have a display on 2008 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Martti Ahtisaari, of Finland, who won the prize for his efforts on several continents and over more than three decades to resolve international conflicts

Produced by the International Institute of Wisconsin, Holiday Folk Fair International celebrates the cultural heritage of the people living in southeastern Wisconsin. This year’s theme, “Celebrate the Culture of Peace,” will allow Fair-goers the opportunity to explore the ways in which music, food, dance, and art enhance racial, cultural, and ethnic cooperation.

Special attractions at this year’s event include the “Art Beyond Borders” and “Invisible in the City” photographic displays, the International Chess Academy, bonsai, and anime.

The three-day event features the All Nations Theater with traditional music and dance, the World Cafe offering traditional dishes, the International Stage where young people perform their ethnic dances, the Music Pavilion 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, and the Callen Construction Cooking Demonstration Stage featuring local chefs preparing traditional cuisine.

Holiday Folk Fair International will also host a United States Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony Sat., Nov. 20, at 10:30 a.m. and an “Around the World” 5K Run/Walk Sun., Nov. 21 at 9:00 a.m.

Hours on Fri., Nov. 19 are 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.; 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 20; and 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Sun., Nov. 21. Advance tickets will be sold for $8 each at Pick n’ Save locations throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Advance tickets for $8 each as well as family four-packs for $28 can be purchased on-line at www.folkfair.org.

Admission at the gate will be $10 for adults; $8 for children ages 6 to 12; children under the age of five will be admitted at no charge. Those 62 and over will be admitted for $8, and all military personnel with a military ID card will be admitted free. Those that bring two non-perishable food items for Hunger task Force will get a $2 discount on a regular adult admission.

For more information on the 2010 Holiday Folk Fair International, visit www.folkfair.org or call the International Institute of Wisconsin at 414-225-6220.

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