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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

World Fair Field Festival planned for Sept. 21-22

Aug 28, 2018

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor


The Fairfield City Council approved a request Monday to close parking around the square for World Fair Field Symposium and International Festival, which is Sept. 21-22.

Denyce Rusch, president of Fairfield Cultural Alliance, initially asked the council to close Broadway Avenue between Main and Court streets to accommodate a stage for musicians. Mayor Ed Malloy said the standard practice with other festivals has been to close only two of the three lanes on Broadway. Rusch agreed that was acceptable.

Some of the parking around the square will be closed as well to accommodate a couple food of trucks and other food vendors expected at the event.


Sept. 21 is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace. Maharishi School has often honored the day, and its headmaster Richard Beall announced in November 2017 his desire to expand the celebration to the whole town.

In May, the council heard from Kaye Jacob and her daughter Karen Aoki about a plan to honor Fairfield’s global character with a “World Fair Field International Festival,” a play on the world’s fair. They envisioned a two-day event where the first day focused on educational programs for students, and the second day focused on celebrating the music, food and culture from all corners of the globe with booths on the square and a parade.

The Fairfield Cultural Alliance explained in a news release why internationalism was chosen as the theme, “The city of Fairfield is one of the most diverse cities in Iowa: 15 percent of our residents are foreign-born, as Chinese, Indians, Africans and Latinos, among others, join Native Americans and European immigrants from earlier eras.”


Symposium Friday

Plans for that weekend have been firming up and now the group has secured a list of guest speakers and a rough schedule of events.

A symposium on the theme “compassionate community, compassionate civilization,” will be the marquee event Friday, Sept. 21. It will be held at both the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center and the Argiro Student Center on the campus of Maharishi University of Management. The symposium seeks to enhance global awareness and encourage students to meet sustainability goals.

Registration at the arts center will begin at 9:30 a.m. that day. The keynote speaker is Robertson Work, former principal policy adviser with the United Nations and professor at New York University. A panel of experts will talk about local efforts to implement the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals.

Attendees will mosey across town from the arts center to M.U.M. and Maharishi School for the afternoon session. Tom Morgan will address the attendees, who will then participate in breakout workshops led by the morning’s presenters.

The event will be inaugurated by Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy and presenters will include David Suarez, a community organizer with Community First Credit Union, and Morad Malekghasemmi, who serves on the Iowa State Board of the UN Association, among others.

Festival Saturday

The events on Saturday, Sept. 22, start at 2 p.m. with a “parade of nations” and last until 11 p.m. with live music. Rusch asked the council’s permission to have live music that late. Malloy said music on the square at that hour has not produced complaints before, though he noted that more people live above downtown businesses than they did a few years ago.

Shops around the square are invited to participate in the parade of nations by highlighting any international connections they have. Continuing through the afternoon and evening on the square, diverse cultural groups will perform ethnic music and dancing in the Ron Prill Bandstand and on a stage on the north side of the square.

Central Park will be divided into four quadrants representing a different part of the world: the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Participants will share their cultural history through games, foods, crafts and artifacts. Children will get “passports” to stamp at each location and collect mementos at each “port of entry.”

Musicians and dancers from a variety of countries have agreed to perform, such as India, Greece, Mexico, Turkey, China, and others from North Africa, the Middle East and North America, including Native Americans.

An international bake sale is being organized to cover festival expenses. To take part, contact Rusch at 451-0959 or via email at Many of the expenses for Saturday’s international festival are being covered by a $10,000 grant from Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Matching donations came from the Fairfield Cultural Alliance, Fairfield First Fridays, Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau and other local businesses and civic organizations.

Admission to the music and entertainment Saturday is free. Participants in the Sept. 21 symposium are asked to make a $5 contribution for students, $10 for adults.

Organizers of the event include Beall, Jacob, the board of the Fairfield Cultural Alliance, and Dewayne Frazier, vice president of academic affairs at Iowa Wesleyan University.

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