The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

April 7, 2013

International Festival creates cultural dialogue

OTTUMWA — OTTUMWA — Communication between cultures leads to understanding and acceptance.

This bottom line has pushed the International Festival forward for the last 15 years, growing each year with more vendors, more entertainment and more participants, said the event’s creator, Ed Ball.

“We had a large influx of Latinos,” Ball said of the period of time before the event began in 1998. “There could be two Americans sitting there talking, and the Latino thinks they’re talking about him. I thought, we need to do something to get these people to come together.”

The festival began under a large tent in Sycamore Park with just a few booths. Today, it incorporates 20 ethnicities found throughout Ottumwa. Some may not realize, Ball said, but there are more than 17 different ethnicities working at Cargill Meat Solutions alone.

While the event has helped forge a dialogue between Ottumwa’s different cultures and ethnicities, Ball said nothing can be done to change stereotypes long set in stone.

“Those people are too far gone,” Ball said. “They sit around with something on their mind that happened 25 years ago.”

This is the first year Molly B has participated in the event after she was asked by Ball to become its event coordinator.

“I’m glad I did. It’s a lot of hard work, but I got to meet a lot of really interesting people,” she said. “I respect Ed so much. He’s so rich with the history of his own life. He’s helped open my eyes to different races and ethnicities. This makes you think about stereotypes, people being racist and ignorant to different cultures.”

She hopes the festival will “teach people not to be so narrow-minded.”

“This is a way to honor every culture,” she said.

The Ottumwa Human Rights Commission worked alongside the Ottumwa Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to organize this year’s event, said HRC member Lisa Aslesen.

Text Only
Ottumwa
  • Urbandale comes back to beat Ottumwa Midwest BOONE — Ottumwa Midwest led by seven runs in the fourth inning, but Urbandale National put together a furious comeback to steal the victory, 12-11, on Friday at the 9-10 Year Old Little League State Baseball Tournament. The top of the first saw Ottum

    July 25, 2014

  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0625 OTT Riverfront Renaissance color photo -L -M Riverfront Renaissance begins mapping out ideas

    OTTUMWA — It was serious work to play with stickers and maps Tuesday evening. Concentration was on more than 70 faces as colored dots found their way up and down several maps of the river flowing through downtown Ottumwa. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National