Bernie and I had a sweet morning yesterday on a boat tour of Louisiana bayous. Today we plan to visit an Acadian Village that offers living history, our favorite way to learn the history of an area. Later in the day, we attended Lafayette’s “Festival International de Louisiane, which is an event we expected to be going back to each day here. Unfortunately it was a disappointment. We talked this morning about how Minnesota does “international” and decided that Lafayette could learn a thing or two from those of us from up north. There were five stages throughout the area but during the hours we were attending only one had entertainment happening…a DJ with recoded rock music for any attendees who felt moved to dance. Before we left, one stage presented a brass group imported from Mississippi that played upbeat Jazz. National, I’d say, but not international. There was an arts and crafts fare much like you would find in our own arts and crafts fare of Little Falls. The only really “international” booth offered a collection of goods from Central America and Mexico. As for food, there was one booth that offered Asian cabobs and rice and another that had Greek gyros. Otherwise…Cajun.
What came to my mind as we walked around was the “Festival of Nations” held in Minneapolis each year with its ongoing staging of ethnic music and dancing, language workshops, the variety of exhibits and food samples prepared by people representing cultures around the world, and imported goods from all parts of the world to admire and purchase. Also, there is “International Day” held at the Concordia Language Villages in Bemidji Mn each summer. It hosts a wonderful parade of the young campers from the various villages who entertain attendees with song and then offer the foods they have prepared. Years ago, I experienced an international fare at St. Cloud State hosted by their international students. I especially remember the enthusiasm of the student who displayed artifacts from their homelands and enjoyed sharing information. Sometimes one could sense a bit of homesickness.
The best way to experience the world would surely be hop plane, train, or ship and actually visit exotic places. But for those who can’t do that, there is no place like Minnesota.