Festivals can bring a community together

Let’s celebrate our rural communities with intention. The Center for Rural Affairs helps communities learn and engage in an intentional way to make long lasting connections across cultures.

One way to celebrate our small towns is to support cultural festivals in rural communities. Festivals teach us something new about our neighbors, strengthen our relationships, and foster community pride by bringing people together from all walks of life.

With the variety of multicultural months, we have the opportunity to host all kinds of festivals. For example, November is National Native American Heritage Month. Our communities can help support our Native American neighbors by celebrating their history and pride. This is a great chance to learn about our history as a nation and the strengths that we all bring.

Festivals can foster community pride. All cultural festivals allow individuals to showcase their history by dressing in traditional cultural attire. We can showcase our foods by sharing them and learning about new tastes. Our kids can play together and live in a colorful world of differences.

The Center supports communities that foster this type of inclusion and can help in taking those intentional steps to get to know your neighbors. For example, we are currently working with community leaders in Hastings, Nebraska, toward making great steps in inclusion.

Cultural Connect Week

Community leaders in Hastings saw a need for a festival with food and entertainment. As a result, in November, Hastings will host its 10th annual Cultural Festival. This year, we helped develop a week of inclusion activities in conjunction with the festival called Hastings Cultural Connect Week.

From Nov. 11 to 17, activities are planned for all ages. There will be training for those who serve immigrant communities, a PBS showing of Go Luna Go!, folkloric dance classes, an interfaith conversation, a poetry slam, and the Hastings Cultural Festival. This week will be intentional in growing the Hastings community in becoming more inclusive and understanding of all of their members.

In addition to the week of activities, community leaders are starting an inclusion committee to focus on active steps to continue to make Hastings a welcoming and inclusive community. This event is co-hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs, the YWCA of Adams County, and the Hastings Multicultural Association.