Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2018

World Fair-Field Festival planned

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | May 16, 2018
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Karen Aoki, left, and Kaye Jacob address the Fairfield City Council Monday about the World Fair-Field Festival they are planning for Sept. 21-22.

A group of people are putting together a festival to celebrate Fairfield’s international character.

The event is known as “World Fair-Field Festival,” a play on the world’s fair. It will coincide with the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, Sept. 21, and continue the following day.

Kaye Jacob and her daughter Karen Aoki spoke about the festival to the Fairfield City Council during its meeting Monday. The council had previously approved their request to close off certain parking spaces around Central Park for the event on Saturday, Sept. 22, the day of the festival.

“Our vision is that people will set up tables on the square that represent continents [one quadrant each for Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas],” Jacob said. “We wanted to get kids to learn about the culture, also. Young kids could get passports, and get stamps at each of the countries after learning some trivia. We want this to be welcoming. It’s not political. There’s no ax to grind.”

Jacob said Dick DeAngelis, who organized the All Things Italian Festival for years, has given them good advice. And through his research into his documentary series, DeAngelis has come to know much about the early settlers in this area.

“The state of Iowa has huge Czech and Dutch populations,” Jacob said. “We really want to create a bridge between the university and the people who were here before that.”

The group plans to invite musicians who can play selections from around the world. Jacob said a few of the students at Maharishi School play traditional Chinese instruments very well. The group hopes to offer a wide selection of food, and to have a parade of nations.

The day before, on Sept 21, a Friday, will focus on educational programs for Maharishi School and Fairfield students. Jacob and Aoki have applied for grants to go toward the Friday events. They hope to bring someone to speak on behalf of the United Nations.

The United Nations has 17 development goals to reach by 2030, and include things such as eliminating hunger, poverty, achieve gender equity, preserving the ecology of the sea and air, etc. Jacob hopes Friday’s events focus on those sustainability goals to give them a global perspective.

“We also want to get them aware of the organizations and businesses in the community that are working toward those same objectives, such as The Lord’s Cupboard, Habitat for Humanity and many others,” she said. “Every one of those goals corresponds to a local group with the same values.”

Jacob would love the organizations to set up booths in a large hall where students could learn about each one.

Aoki and Jacob have said they’ve already received backing or assistance from the Fairfield Cultural Alliance, Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau andFairfield First Fridays for their idea, and will receive grant money from the local option sales tax.

In a news release, the group explained why they feel such a festival is important.

“According to the census data from 2014, the city of Fairfield has a 15 percent foreign born population, half of whom are naturalized citizens. In another statistic, over 1,500 foreign born persons have arrived in Fairfield since 2010,” stated the release. “We know our small town, which became the county seat in 1839 with only 110 residents, was founded by multiple ethnicities who settled in different parts of Fairfield. Diverse ethnicities continue to arrive to this day, drawn in part by the city itself and the international outreach on the university campus.”

Those interested in learning more about World Fair-Field Festival can contact Jacob at 641-814-6834 or at kjacob@msae.edu.

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