The 13th annual Festival of Nations will take place August 25-26 in Tower Grove Park. Be there!
Last year, more than 140,000 visitors attended Festival of Nations. They dined and shopped at booths representing 51 ethnicities and delighted in arts and performances representing 62 ethnicities. In all, 81 ethnicities were represented at the festival which represents the traditions of St. Louis’ long-timers and newcomers alike.
Returning in 2012!
Festival of Nations 2012 is featuring COBU, a NATIONALLY-renowned all female performance troupe that fuses traditional Japanese Taiko drumming (taiko=big drum) and tap dance. In addition to a daily performance, COBU will offer a workshop so that festival-goers can get a hands-on experience in the art of taiko. Festival of Nations marks COBU’s debut performance in St. Louis. And admission is free to all festival visitors!
Roots of Festival of Nations
Today’s Festival of Nations has its origins in the International May Festival, first held in St. Louis in 1920. Organized by the International Institute of St. Louis, the May Festival was one of the earliest multicultural celebrations in our nation.
Letitia Fyffe, the Institute’s first executive director, proudly describes the crafts and performances featured in the 1920 festival. “The exhibit of foreign handicraft was collected from among our own women. All were intensely interested in contributing their share, delighted at our appreciation of their cherished belongings.” By that evening, “[there was] a foreign atmosphere to the scene,” she writes. An estimated 2,000 people attended. “Pennants representing most of the Nationalities in St. Louis were stretched across the street with an American flag in the center.” After a program of music and dance, the ceremony concluded with “a tableau representing the Institute welcoming foreign-born women at the hands of Uncle Sam.”