Cultural Fairs

In an effort to contribute to the students’ global awareness, understanding, and appreciation of cultural diversity, the Ideal School will host five cultural fairs throughout the school year.  Students, parents, members of the school and local community who have expertise of a specific culture will organize and participate in the cultural fairs.

August will be the Japanese Fair.  The Obon Festival is traditional Buddhist Japanese fair where it is believed that through prayer, people’s ancestor’s spirits reunite with their families.  At this fair there will be a “butsudan” (Buddhist altar) where the students and community can place the “chouchin” (paper lanterns) that they have made.  There will be a performance from the Watsonville Taiko drummers as well as a Martial Arts demonstration.  There will be a Sushi Bar, provided by local Sushi restaurant “Pink Godzilla” where people can create their own sushi.  The Sundance Cinema theater company from San Francisco will be invited to perform Kabuki Theater.  In addition, Japantown vendors will be invited to bring traditional Kimonos to sell.  Local Japanese community members will be invited to share their stories of survival of the internment camps during World War II in an opportunity to educate the students’ and their families of Japanese-American history.

The month of September will be a celebration of Mexican Culture, with the fair occurring on the date of Mexico’s independence, September 16th.  This “día de la independencia de México” will educate the students, parents, and community of how Mexico gained independence through a historical re-enactment of the ringing of the Liberty Bell in Father Hidalgo’s church.  There will be a symbolic grito, or cry of independence with a ¡Viva México! Cheer after the bell is rung.  The students of the Ideal School will put this performance on outside of the cultural center/gymnasium.  There will be traditional Mariachis from the local community of Watsonville at the fair along with traditional, typical Mexican food such as sopes, pozole, and tacos.  There will also be an opportunity to decorate sombreros before the historical play.  Given the ethnic diversity within the Ideal School, this particular cultural fair will be put together by mainly the families of the school.

The month of February will have two cultural fairs due to the coinciding of Black History Month and Chinese New Year.  Known as a Lunar New Year celebration, Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 14, 2010, the year of the tiger.  There will be opportunities for children to make crafts of the zodiac animal the tiger, along with lantern making to symbolize the brightness of spring.  There will also be a booth where people can write fortunes to put into fortune cookies.  The food will consist of typical Chinese New Year food with dumplings to represent golden nuggets, oranges to represent wholeness and completeness, fish and chicken to symbolize prosperity, and long noodles to symbolize longevity.  There will be floats, traditional Chinese music and performances, and a Tiger costume during a parade.  The evening will end with fireworks and a traditional “Gung Hei Fat Choy” meaning “wishing you prosperity and wealth”. 

For the Black History Month cultural fair also in February, local Jazz musicians from Monterey will be invited to perform at the Ideal School.  There will be a booth where families and members of the community can read traditional African folk tales as well as books about African history.  There will be a booth for families and the community to have the opportunity to collaboratively write poetry culminating in an afternoon poetry reading.  There will also be a commemorative reading of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech along with traditional soul food of fried chicken and cornbread.

The last of the cultural fairs will also be the end of the year farewell celebration of the Ideal School.  May will be a fair celebrating the collective U.S. culture with classic “American” food such as hot dogs and hamburgers, French fries and apple pie.  There will be a friendly baseball tournament that people of all ages will be encouraged to participate in.  There will be a face-painting booth as well as other typical carnival games complete with a petting zoo sponsored by the local chapter of the Future Farmers of America.