Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Culture Fair

Last week I was recovering from the Culture Fair put on at our church.  I feel like I am spending a whole lot of time recovering lately.  Whatever the case, this event was totally worth the down time afterward.  We considered it a HUGE success.  We had the gym at the church packed with people.  

The event consisted of a program of performers that ran pretty much the whole time and 18 tables run by people that had lived in the foreign countries {and Maine-special mention for you Lindsey/Richard :0} that they were presenting. 

I never imagined the amazing things that people brought.  I am such a crazy person about not having anything I don't want to store.  That is why I didn't have one item to display from my life in Germany.  More the reason why I was amazed at the cultural artifacts that surfaced for our Culture Fair.

The presenters were also invited to bring native food to give our guests a taste of each culture.  
We had some Super delicious foods, like peanut butter chicken soup{Ghana}, french bread with Brie{France}, Apple pie topped with cheese {Maine :0}, Brazilian Rice and Beans, Polish yumminess{forgot what it was called}, and our sweet Relief Society President with the whole darn Mexican Fiesta at her table.

Eli even at a worm{dried}.  Yep.  It was on the India table, in all it's crunchy splendor.  
He thought it tasted like Cheetos without the cheese :0)

Emmalee's favorite was the bowl of Spam.
She ate every bite and asked for more.  

Madison was put in charge of the passports.  I made 80 passports, one per family, and stamps for each table with each country's name on the seal.  When the kids visited a table, they got a stamp they could glue into their passport.  When they collected every stamp, they received a huge stamp for the back of the passport.  

We did the stamps in black and white, but had crayons for the kids in case they wanted to color them.  It ended up a great activity for the kids and a place for them to hang out between the programs.

My role in the whole thing was to decorate.  I researched forever and came up with a couple things that would be fun and fit in our smallish budget.  The grass curtain was of the first things I made.

It needed to be a little wider to reach from one side of the backboard to the other, but was simple to make and looked really cool on the wall.  I bought 3 rolls of bright green, 3 rolls of darker green, and one roll of brown crepe paper.  I took two kitchen chairs and set them about 9 feet apart.  I tied the end of each roll of crepe paper to one chair, then walked around and around the chairs with all 7 strands of paper until the full rolls were wrapped around the chairs.  I cut all the paper along one chair, and along the other.  If you understand any of that, you can imagine the very speedy way I cut all the crepe into 9 foot strips.
Next I took a incredibly long strand of ribbon, and sewed the crepe to the front of it.  I took 3 bright green, three dark green, and one brown strand each time, arranged them differently each time, and sewed them on with about 1 foot of streamer hanging past the ribbon so I could have the overlap thing goen' on.  Next time I will probably need to buy about 4 more rolls of crepe paper so we make it all the way across the backboard.  I still had about 16 feet of backdrop with the 7 rolls I purchased.

The paper lanterns were simple to make.  I bought a paper stack...

from Joanns and cut up all but the white ones for the lanterns.  I used the tutorial found HERE to make them.  I cut the paper down to 11" long, 10" tall, then used the 1" strip as the handle and the extra 2" strip was punched into flowers with my sizzix. 
Most were hung from the ceiling, then a few were strung along the wall.

For the main viewing area, I made long strings of tissue paper tassels.  I took one sheet of paper, folded it into 1/4ths, then stacked up 6 or 7 and cut one end into slits with my paper trimmer.  After that I folded the un-cut end over jute and stapled it in place.   We strung up 8" paper lanterns purchased for around $1 at the Paper Lantern Store online.  I have to tell you, I love that place!!!  I was only given a week to get decorations together.  They took my order and delivered it all in three days.  They are headquartered in CA.  I have purchased from them twice and have been super impressed by their excellent customer service.

 The side of the stage I decorated with tissue paper and wrapping paper fan-folded flowers.  I found that orange mesh stuff at Hobby Lobby in the party section for $10 a roll, then used my 40% off coupon to buy it for less.  
Do you like how I tried to cover the electrical plug with fan flowers :0)  Worked pretty well.

Eli LOVED the slap dancers.  They have always been a favorite of his.

I am not so sure how happy I am that he got to go on stage with them.  He probably thinks he is a professional now.  He slaps himself silly every time we see slap dancers and I am certain he wants to make it his profession when he grows up.


The Brazilian tables were probably Scott's favorite!  He served a mission for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Brazil for two years when he was 19, you know, like last week :0)  He misses the yummy rice and beans they ate every single day of those two years.  One sweet sister in our ward is from Brazil and made a fresh batch of rice and beans for all to try.  
I think dear hubby may have had more than one serving.  He spent an awful lot of time over there :0)

So this crazy thing came to me in the night.  I thought, "Hey, why not do a May Pole???"  We bought a fake pipe for like 5 bucks, then...and this is the best part...I had all the guys and the missionaries that were there that morning help to setting up all grab a streamer or two and dance around the pole, weaving in and out like the cute little european girls do :0)  That was my favorite Culture Fair moment, hands down.  It appears they need a little practice.  Don't worry boys!  There are a lot of days between today and next years culture fair!!!  The streamers were strung out to the wires running the ceiling for the cool canopy effect.

I was a little surprised when they told me there would be an Armed Forces table in the room, but what an awesome idea!

You know that my handsome brothers served overseas in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and you can probably guess that I was a fan of this table.

Touching.  Really touching, pulling on my heart strings.   

Eli of course was more impressed with the body armor.

This darling little family sang a polish song.  Cute little Jadwiga on the left side there is Emmalee's little friend.  She was so adorable up there, swaying from side to side while singing. 
 I nearly died from the cuteness of it all! 

We had a great group of Mexican dancers... 

and then there was the Japanese Dojo.  He ran his students through a whole warm-up on stage, then set about preparing for his destructive demonstration.  

He broke a baseball bat.  

It would have been two bats, but the other student kept dropping the bat when he kicked it.  I can't imagine the fear that must have struck when seeing his instructor's lethal leg flying toward his head.  I would have dropped the bat too, except my drop would have been followed by a sprint across the stage.

Amazing!  Concrete!!!  

Well, once all the fun ended, everyone involved in the planning was thrilled for such a great turnout.  We never expected such amazing presenters at the tables and on stage.  I was just happy that so many people stayed to help clean up all my decorating efforts :0)  
Now, hopefully I won't have another big event for a while and can get a little work done around my house myself.  
Coming up, I will show you the car seat covers I finished this weekend at my cousin's Girls Weekend.  Whew!  What a relief!  Now to get some Halloween fun going on...after I finish folding my laundry{said in an Eeyore-lack-of-enthusiasm voice}  Oh Bother.

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