Alton Main Street will present its third annual cultural celebration called “Small Town – Big World,” a day featuring a variety of activities representing the community’s diversity.
Events will take place Saturday, May 4, across Downtown Alton. The event is a homegrown effort with members of the public contributing elements of ethnic cuisine, traditional clothing, world music, folk art, dance performances, martial arts, sports, and information from faith communities.
A passport will direct attendees on this self-guided exploration, and there is still time to add more activities.
“We would like to encourage residents to contact our office if they have access to any element of their heritage that they would like to share – big or small,” said Sasha Bassett, president of Alton Main Street and chairperson of the event.
Community members who would like to contribute to the celebration are encouraged to contact Alton Main Street at (618) 463-1016 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss specifics. Performances and exhibits will be grouped in appropriate venues, and scheduled based on mutual availability.
The YWCA of Alton will display Alton’s rich Black History, and at this venue attendees can also “Meet A Muslim” with the Center for American Islamic Relations, and learn about Jewish traditions as well.
The Old Bakery Beer Company will represent England within the restaurant, and host a melting pot of other cultures in their event space such as Capoeria, which is a blend of Brazilian dance and martial arts, as well as traditional dancing and clothing from the Philippenes.
Germania Brew Haus will share elements of their heritage with a special menu, including Weihenstaphener Beer on tap, a lager from the world’s oldest Brewery, founded in 1050AD, located in Germany.
It’s Raining Zen will feature Native American culture and spirituality, featuring a painted horse and drum circles.
Little Mexico will feature Mexican and Mayan clothing, cuisine and folk art. The Haskell House Childrens’ Museum will feature a dress-up station with apparel from cultures around the world, make it and take it crafts, and cuisine from an array of countries.
The Hayner Public Library will have a display of internationally-themed books for anyone who would like to gain a deeper understanding of all the cultures that are represented and information about how to research your own genealogy.
“This will be a very exciting day for Alton to demonstrate that we are an inclusive community where people embrace and celebrate what makes each of us unique,” said Sara McGibany, executive director of Alton Main Street, “An international event has been one of the most requested activities we’ve heard from the public, and Alton Main Street is thrilled to be able to provide the framework to bring everyone together.”
Tickets of $10 are available in advance at participating venues, or they can be purchased on the day of the event in the lobby of Mineral Springs Mall, located at 301 E. Broadway in Alton from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tickets are not required in order to receive a passport and enjoy the activities, but are encouraged to help offset costs of producing the event. Ticket holders will receive a travel journal and be entered into a drawing for prizes, including a pair of box seat tickets to the Fox Theater, a report from Ancestry.com, and gift certificates from local restaurants. A schedule of events will soon be found on the Events page of www.DowntownAlton.com as well as www.facebook.com/AltonMainStreet.
Sponsors include Simmons Hanly Conroy, Mathis, Marifian & Richter, LTD., Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau, Happy Trails Production and Entertainment, AdVantage News, The Telegraph, WBGZ Radio, and Riverbender.com.
PHOTO: A scene from a past Small Town – Big World event.