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Contact: Merrith Baughman, 402-223-3514
See sparkling decorations from many countries showcasing ethnic traditions at both the Education Center and Heritage Centers at Homestead National Monument of America, from November 25th, 2011 through December 31st, 2011. The Winter Festival of Prairie Cultures celebrates 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.
Homestead National Monument of America Superintendent Mark Engler said, "The Homestead Act of 1862 had a global impact. 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." Cultures represented include Czech, French, German, Hispanic, Irish, Jewish, Polish, Scottish, Swedish, and Welsh.
In addition to the displays, there will be special programs presented on November 27, December 4th, and 11th. These programs include:
November 27 Lori McAlister 2 p.m. (Education Center) Lori, a folklorist, will be giving a presentation about Scottish immigrants and the traditions they brought to America. Come along for a visit to a Scots homestead and learn about the tradition of first-footing and Hogmanay, and join in a little Scottish country dancing, if you fancy. Lori McAlister will be sharing a bit of custom, costume and lore along with a couple of the Lincoln Scottish Country Dancers.
December 4 "Irish Christmas in America" 2 p.m. (Education Center)This family-friendly performance features evocatively-sung Irish ballads and holiday carols, lively tunes on fiddle and accordion, along with thrilling Irish old-style dance. Ancient customs and stories are brought to life, while evocative photographic images provide a backdrop of rich historical context. Take a memorable glimpse into the enchanting spirit of Christmas, as some of Ireland's finest traditional artists bring you on a distinctively Irish journey during the holiday season of 2011.
December 11 David Boye 2-3 p.m. (Education Center) David Boye, a guitar instructor at Doane College, Nebraska Rock and Roll Hall of Fame participant and professional musician, will give a program entitled, "Cultural Contributions to Music, Then and Now." Boye will examine the music heritage brought by European settlers of the American West, and will also talk about how these ethnic influences are still heard in music today.
Remember, Homestead National Monument of America has an exciting schedule of events planned for the wonderful wrap-up of 2011 and the exciting 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act in 2012. Keep up with the latest information by following us on Twitter (HomesteadNM) and Facebook (Homestead National Monument of America). For information on the monument's programs or activities, please call (402)-223-3514 or visit www.nps.gov/home.
Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska. Current hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends. Admission is free of charge. For additional information, please call 402-223-3514 or visit https://www.nps.gov/home/index.htm. The monument is closed at noon on December 24, December 25 and January 1.