P: (414) 225-6225


E: info@folkfair.org Fri., Nov. 16 - Sun., Nov. 18



Dave Amoroso • Ron Sonntag Public Relations, Inc.
414-354-0200, ext. 108 • dave@rspr.com

November 9, 2018


Holiday Folk Fair International to Feature Special Exhibits and Displays

MILWAUKEE, WI ⎯ A variety of special exhibits and displays will be highlighted throughout the grounds at the 75th annual Holiday Folk Fair International, America’s premiere multi-cultural festival, to be held Fri., Nov. 16 – Sun., Nov. 18, 2018, at the State Fair Park Exposition Center at in West Allis, Wis.

Folk Fair will again feature a refugee exhibit, this year’s inspired by the Family of Man photo collection originated by photographer Edward Steichen, a collection of 503 photographs from 68 countries that showed the span of human life from birth to death and all of experiences and complex emotions in between.

The 2018 refugee exhibit aims to achieve the same effect through photographs of refugees, signifying unity through diversity. “Refugees and Wisconsinites discover we have more similarities than differences, and at this year’s Holiday Folk Fair International, we honor both,” said Alexander Durtka Jr., president of the International Institute of Wisconsin (IIW), producers of Folk Fair. “Through this exhibit, the human will to survive is celebrated along with the contributions of our refugee neighbors to the rich and vibrant fabric of our diverse country.” The photos will depict how Croatian parents raise their children, the Rohingya find romance, refugees express grief and sorrow after losing loved ones, and much more.

The event’s “History Alive” area will feature a variety of photographic exhibits. The International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts (CIOFF) will have a display of images featuring musical instruments from around the world, while the Polish Women’s Cultural Club of Milwaukee will present a 14-panel exhibit titled “Women of Independence” in recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the proclamation of Poland’s independence. To honor the event’s milestone anniversary, photos and promotional posters from previous Folk Fairs will be exhibited.

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum will be at Folk Fair sharing information on critical early learning and school readiness activities for children and to educating adults about the importance of early childhood education to a child’s lifelong success. The Museum’s outreach team will provide information about the Family Focus Free Membership Program for families that qualify as well as giving attendees an opportunity to register for an orientation. Staff will also provide information about Vroom, Brinn Labs, and other Museum initiatives.

The Dirty Kettle Native American interactive display will feature Herb Heck, aka “Dirty Kettle” depicting and teaching the traditions of the Plains Indians and the Mountain Men. The display is comprised of a teepee arranged as it would have been more than 150 years ago, with items that were typical of the period, including willow beds covered in buffalo hides and back rests wrapped with deer and sheep skins. In addition, a variety of furs line the inside of the teepee, including bobcat, moose, ermine, fox, beaver, mink, coyote, and Canadian timber wolf. The display will also feature items used during the period, including dance sticks, talking and prayer feathers, bows and arrows, tools, traps, fire starting items, and hand-made musical instruments, such as flutes and drums.

The Artisan Corner, presented by Debra Stefl, will include local vendors demonstrating their craft throughout the weekend. Artisan Corner participants include…

  • Jack Douthitt from Fox Point, Wis. practicing bonsai.
  • Bill Hoettels of Milwaukee, Wis. demonstrating Scottish knitting.
  • Bernadine (Bernie) Jendrzezak of Hales Corners, Wis. doing Polish paper cutting.
  • Kim Reyes from Milwaukee, Wis. demonstrating cornhusk doll making.
  • Joseph Whitmore of North Prairie, Wis. carving Welsh love spoons.

Heritage Lane, sponsored by Everdry, allows attendees to take a leisurely stroll and discover traditional and unique customs from around the world by interacting with diverse cultures that are brought to life through ethnic exhibits. There will displays on behalf of more than 25 ethnic groups, including the Albanian, Burmese, Filipino, Romanian, Swiss, and Thai.
Skilled artisans from distant lands have created characteristic treasures to be on display and for sale in the International Bazaar, presented by Bath Fitter, providing a distinguished shopping experience. Attendees will find products from more than 15 ethnicities, including Chinese, Finnish, Indian, Slovak, and Turkish.

Folk Fair attendees will have the opportunity to learn about and enjoy bonsai trees from the Milwaukee Bonsai Society. Some of the bonsai trees will be colorful, and others will have already dropped their leaves. The trees will range in size and age, with some trees up to 80 years old. Children will also be given a card with various styles of bonsai trees, so they can find and identify the different trees on display, plus attendees will be able to vote on their favorite tree.

The Wisconsin Woodturners will have its annual display, with several woodturners conducting demonstrations throughout each day. Fair-goers will be able to get a close look at the woodturning process and browse products, such as bowls, sculptures, vases, and more. Kids will also be able to play with a tongue drum, a wooden musical instrument with slits.
The Milwaukee Art Museum presents Kohl’s Color Wheels will again appear at Folk Fair, with a mobile art experience where kids take part in fun projects, plus grow and learn through art.

A program of the IIW, Holiday Folk Fair International celebrates the cultural heritage of the people living in southeastern Wisconsin. This year’s theme, “Celebrate the Culture of Diversity,” will allow Fair-goers the opportunity to honor a community of people bound together by common ties, such as language, customs and beliefs, by what they think, how they behave, what they value, and what they pass on to the next generation.

The three-day event features the All Nations Theater, sponsored by Fields Automotive Group, with traditional music and dance, the World Café offering traditional dishes, the International Stage where young people perform their ethnic dances, the Tanzhauz (Music Pavilion), presented by Leaf Filter, where attendees dance and sing along with a variety of musical styling’s, the Coffee House, sponsored by Renewal by Andersen, where patrons enjoy a beverage and baked goods while listening to talented musicians, Heritage Lane, presented by Everdry, with unique traditions and customs through interactive exhibits, the International Bazaar, sponsored by Bath Fitter, where cultural artifacts create a unique shopping experience, the Callen Construction Chef’s Stage featuring local chefs preparing traditional cuisine, and the Holiday Folk Fair Cinema, with viewings during the weekend of the Milwaukee PBS documentary “A Hope for Tomorrow” and “This Is Home,” the winner of the 2018 Sundance Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary.

Hours on Fri., Nov. 16 are 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.; 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 17; and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sun., Nov. 18.
Admission at the gate will be $12 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 $10, and all military personnel with a military ID card will be admitted free.

For more information on the 2018 Holiday Folk Fair International, visit www.folkfair.org or call the IIW at 414-225-6225.