Cultural Awareness Day
event to showcase
culture and entertainment
and food to be featured
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(September 2010) Shirley Kloepfers love
of social work and interest in promoting cultural exchange has taken
her around the globe. Whether it was serving in the Peace Corps or supervising
groups of students on their first trip outside the United States, her
travels combined service and education.
10th annual Hispanic Cultural
Awareness Day festival will
take place Sept. 18 at the
Broadway Fountain in Madison.
However, Kloepfer also doesnt always have to leave
Madison, Ind., to perform her work promoting international understanding.
As a coordinator for the non-profit organization La Casa Amiga and event
organizer for the Hispanic Cultural Awareness Day festival, Kloepfer
finds herself doing the same thing right in her own backyard.
For the past decade, the Hispanic Cultural Awareness Day festival has
given Madison residents a chance to sample a taste of world culture
by traveling no further than downtown. Guests can enjoy the chance to
learn more about a variety of Spanish speaking nations through a combination
of music, art, information and food.
The 10th annual Hispanic Cultural Awareness Day festival will take place
Sept. 18 at the Broadway Fountain in Madison. The event, presented by
La Casa Amiga and the city of Madison, serves as a way to celebrate
and recognize the wide range of Spanish speaking cultures The festival
is free to the public and will run from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. At least
15 countries will be represented at booths showcasing the art and culture
of their region allowing guests a glimpse at life across the world.
The event offers a wide range of entertainment certain to capture the
imagination of the entire family. Indianapolis-based band Neblina Del
Cielo returns for a third year to liven the evening with tropical music.
The group offers a truly international sound with members hailing from
Mexico, Columbia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. They seem to get everyone
out to dance, notes Kloepfer. Throughout the evening children
will enjoy puppets shows and pinatas. And naturally, the international
cuisine also serves as a popular draw giving guests a chance to discover
a new favorite dish. Over the years Knobel and his wife, Mary Clare,
have found that working with the festival and La Casa Amiga to be a
natural extension of their Catholic faith. When their church began offering
a Spanish mass, the Knobels became involved and this led to further
work with the Hispanic community. Over the years, Lou Knobel has served
as event photographer and has designed the posters and T-shirts used
to promote the festival.
The festival also serves as a good way to share information on La Casa
Amiga with the public. The non-profit organization provides Spanish
speaking residents of southern Indiana and northern Kentucky with a
range of assistance and educational opportunities. A part of Ohio Valley
Opportunities, the group offers English as a Second Language and computer
classes as well as providing translation services and community support.
Additionally, all children are invited to La Casa Amigas bi-lingual
story hour every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at 970 Cross Ave.
Kloepfer said she hopes that the Hispanic Cultural Awareness Day festival
will help make people more aware of the variety of countries where Spanish
is spoken. She points out that while many people who hear Spanish assume
that the speaker is Mexican, that is not necessarily the case. She goes
on to explain that different Spanish speaking countries draw from different
cultural sources noting that Argentina reflects a strong European influence
while Mexico retained more of the traditions of its indigenous inhabitants.
For more information or to become a volunteer,
call Shirley Kloepfer at (812) 273-4350.
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