SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Thousands are expected to attend the Festival of Cultures this weekend at Levitt at the Falls.
The festival is going into its 26th year and will be held for the first time in the Levitt parking lot after being held at Falls Park in years past. Events start at 10 a.m. and go to 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, June 10. The festival is hosted by Lutheran Social Services Multicultural Center.
“It’s a way to celebrate just how wonderful Sioux Falls is as a diverse city, as a welcoming city,” said Valeria Wicker, program supervisor for the Multicultural Center. “People are also able to share their cultures and see their cultures represented. It’s a way to have a chance to share and also to learn.”
The festival features over 50 vendors with booths for fashion, jewelry, art and cultural information, four food trucks and seven performances.
Nadifa Mahamed, owner of La Galere, designs African-inspired clothing and jewelry. She started her business in 2019 with this being her third year at Festival of Cultures. Her booth will have African-inspired backpacks, purses, jewelry and hats.
“I decided to start my business here to not only educate the community on different cultures, but also inspire my African people to stay true to themselves and continue dressing up regardless of what people might have to say about their dress code,” Mahamed said.
Tuff Roots, a jazz and rock inspired reggae band out of Sioux Falls, will be headlining the festival. The band was formed in 2014 and this will be their third time performing at Festival of Cultures.
“The type of artistic background we have is already a variety of cultures coming together,” Tuff Roots bassist Feyet Munshikpu said. “Reggae is a genre that a lot of people don’t know about in this area so we try to give them something different so that they can taste music from elsewhere.”
People can also find Tuff Roots performing this summer with The Wailers at the Icon Lounge Thursday, Aug. 24.
Starr and Dallas Chief Eagle are a father-daughter duo who have performed at the Festival of Cultures for many years. They are Lakota hoop dancers as well as cultural educators that share about their native history and the background of the hoop dance.
“We want to represent our culture; we are Lakota,” Starr Chief Eagle said. “With the hoop dance representing unity and representing balance, it’s just such a great event to participate in.”
The Chief Eagles start their set with inviting the audience to learn how the cultural dance works by interacting with the hoops and then end with the two of them performing together. They will also have a booth teaching people how to make native beaded necklaces.
The list of Festival of Culture performances at the Levitt Shell stage on Saturday, June 10:
10:15 a.m. CT– Tuff Roots
11:10 a.m. CT– PEGAN Musica Band: Afrobeats Dance
11:35 a.m. CT– Durga Gurung: Nepalese Traditional Dance
12:10 p.m. CT– Sioux Falls Lion Dance Team
12:50 p.m. CT– Ballet Folklorico Estrellas de Jalisco
1:00 p.m. CT– Wicoun: A Play by Larissa Fast Horse (at the Coliseum)
2:10 p.m. CT– Starr & Dallas Chief Eagle: Lakota Hoot Dancers & Cultural Educators
Later in the evening, before the Levitt at the Falls concert, there will be a Parade of Flags with over 90 countries represented. Chilean artist Pascuala Ilabaca will be Saturday’s Levitt at the Falls performer, which starts at 7 p.m. CT.
“There’s a lot to celebrate here in Sioux Falls,” Wicker said. “There are people who weren’t born here and they come here and choose to stay and raise their children here and it’s a way to celebrate the thing that’s special about the city.”