With St. Patrick’s Day coming up next week, those with Irish heritage (or hey, everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day) are getting ready to celebrate their culture in one of the most widely celebrated feast days in America. America is such a great country, partially due to the presence of so many individuals coming from so many different places. We thought this would be a good opportunity to help your HOA community plan a cultural appreciation fair to celebrate everyone in your community!
- Set up – Starting with the basics, a great place to hold your Cultural Appreciation Fair is your community center. It’s easily accessible for everyone in your community and it’s a great way to use this resource. If your community doesn’t have a center available other options are school gyms, fire halls, or on the sidewalks of your community if you’re planning this event for spring, summer or even fall. Encourage families to sign up to represent their unique heritages and traditions. You may need to rent tables and chairs for this event, so you’ll need to get an accurate number of presenters. Decorations can be the responsibility of the presenters but you will want to have some signage to direct the attendees.
- Represent – If you have a large community, you might want to encourage families of similar heritages to team up. You can decide what sort of fair you want this to be. Do you want every group/family to bring a covered dish or two? Do you want to showcase music, or maybe art? We’d recommend that you encourage a mixture from each group. This will allow for a rich, vibrant experience for everyone involved. Once you decide what you want to showcase in the festival, write up some guidelines to share with the presenters. We’d recommend including a set up time, start time, a list of items that are/aren’t permitted to bring, and tear down guidelines.
- Bingo – In order to encourage the kids in your community to explore the different tables at the fair, consider writing up a bingo or scavenger hunt for the event. Include items from every country and family on the list of things to locate at the fair. Give the presenters a stamp or have them initial the searches for the children to prove that they’ve found the item/answer to a questions/what have you. This exercise should encourage the children to not only visit the booths but also to ask questions and speak with the presenters. In order to encourage completion of the game, have a few prizes available. Enter all completed games into a drawing and pull a few winners.
- Food – While it is possible to have families provide samples of culturally specific dishes at their individual booths and tables, you may also way to consider setting up a food court. Encourage everyone to bring a traditional dish and write up a short paragraph to describe the significance of the dish. During preparation for the fair, make sure that the descriptions are laminated to prevent them being destroyed by food dripping on them. Everything about this festival should be fun and educational, and food is no exception. Food is used as a centerpiece in so many cultures, and will be a great feature of your cultural appreciation fair.
A Cultural Appreciation Fair is also a great way to break out of the funk of the winter months and get everyone excited for spring! The benefits are endless. From all of us at IKO Community Management, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We hope that you’ll have fun planning and organizing a celebration of the diverse and wonderful cultures represented in your HOA community.