Homestead National Monument Celebrates Ethnic Traditions at Winter Festival of Prairie Cultures

Thursday, November 28 2013 07:55   Other NPs
See sparkling decorations from many countries showcasing ethnic traditions at both the Education Center and Heritage Centers at Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska, from Nov. 29 through Dec. 31, 2013.

The Winter Festival of Prairie Cultures features the winter traditions of people who lived on the Great Plains during the homesteading era. Decorated trees and tabletop displays feature ornaments and hand-made crafts that reflect the spirit of hope, humor, traditions, and generosity which characterized settlers of the West. Cultures represented include Czech, French, German, Hispanic, Irish, Jewish, Polish, Scottish, Swedish, and Welsh.

homestead_sleigh"The Homestead Act of 1862 had a global impact," said Mark Engler, superintendent for the Homestead National Monument of America. "Many of the ethnic groups represented during the Winter Festival came to America with traditions inherited from their homelands. We hope that families and individuals visiting Homestead during the holiday season will learn something new about the many winter celebrations that take place throughout the world."

In addition to the displays, there will be special programs presented on Dec. 1, 7, 8, and 15, 2013. These programs include:

Dec. 1: "Music of Cather" by Dr. Christi McClain / 2 p.m. (Education Center) McClain will present a program on the "Music of Cather". She will discuss how Willa Cather's writing has influenced music. Dr. McClain is a doctor of musical arts, Voice Faculty, at the Hartt School Community Division at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

Dec. 7: "Christmas 1863 at the Freeman School" / 2 p.m. (Freeman School) Come make holiday ornaments like homesteading children would have made in school. Enjoy a the story read by a Park Ranger.

Dec. 8: "Ice Sculpting Demonstration" / 1 p.m. (Education Center) Come watch a professional ice sculptor create a masterpiece. Watch as an artist uses a chain saw to create a three-foot masterpiece.

homestead_germans_from_russiaDec. 8: "Holidays Here and There" by Richard Kimbrough / 2 p.m. (Education Center) Richard Kimbrough has lived around the world gaining an insight into the cultures of many countries. Come learn about various cultures as he speaks about the places he has lived or studied. Kimbrough has taught for over 50 years. He is an author of 11 books including a national prize-winning juvenile novel. This program is sponsored by the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau.

Dec. 15: "Scandinavian Folklore" by Laureen Riedesel / 2 p.m. (Education Center) Riedesel is the Director of the Beatrice Public Library and a historian. She will entertain visitors with folklore from several Scandinavian countries. One of the stories she will share is "East of the Sun, West of the Moon".

Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska or 45 miles south of Lincoln, Nebraska. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. For additional information, call (402) 223-3514 or visit .


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