Enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes from around the world June 17 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. at The Coliseum in downtown Sioux Falls. The Festival of Cultures celebrates its 21st year, and 605 sat down with executive director of the Multicultural Center of Sioux Falls, Christy Nicolaisen, to talk about the family-friendly festival’s highlights, and why diversity is essential to the community.
What’s new at the festival this year?
Christy Nicolaisen: This year we’re moving it to The Coliseum. We’re trying to highlight that it’s this really cool building — it’s 100 years old. The other thing we’re trying to address is that last year, it was incredibly hot, and in Falls Park, there was no place to go. We’ve also had years where it’s rained us out, so we’re trying to be more conscious of the weather.
Why is this event important for the area?
CN: Sioux Falls is growing at such a rapid rate, and diversity here is a very beautiful thing. Part of our mission is to have everyone respect and honor each other. We live together, work together, and play together, and if we can understand each other, that helps grow the city, county, and the state, because we live in such a small world now. It’s really important that you build those relationships. The more you know about the people you do business with, the better your business will be.
How does the festival celebrate different cultures?
CN: It’s a comfortable atmosphere where you can enjoy yourself and learn. We have a wide variety of local food and entertainment available from Native American to Bosnian to Kunama. We have 145 languages represented, including several Native American languages. Sioux Falls should be very proud of itself and the diversity it represents. There will be display booths where people are talking about their cultures, and that’s a great way to start a conversation with someone you might not normally talk to.
What are some of the highlights this year?
CN: You can’t miss the entertainment. Brulé will be performing in the afternoon, as well as other talent from local ethnic communities, so ideally you should be here for the entire day. The ability to look at The Coliseum is another highlight. There have been a lot of efforts to keep it preserved. We’ve still got the original woodwork and the original stage. I’d just like to make a formal and respectful invitation that people come down, check out the [building], and check out the events. It’s completely a family event, and it’ll be a really good day.
For more information, visit sfmcc.org.
21st Festival of Cultures
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
515 N. Main Ave.
Free Admission and Parking