Harvest of Traditions brings families to Lincoln park

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Fifteen-month-old Odin Oliver stared intently at the Karen Dancers as the group performed a traditional dance at the Nebraska Folklife Network’s annual Harvest of Traditions celebration.

“We’re a musical family,” said Jessica Bohr, Odin’s mother.

Bohr said that she is part of a “mommy’s group” called Mom’s and Tots. She said the group tries to find different family-friendly events to go to as a group – Harvest of Traditions being one of those events.

Nebraska Folklife Network’s annual Harvest of Traditions celebration held at the Antelope Park’s Auld Pavilion on Oct. 11 was a day of music, dance and storytelling from around the world.

The event featured performances by Jerome Kills Small a Lakota storyteller and retired professor from South Dakota; Edem Kegey a singer/songwriter of Mediterranean-African music from Omaha; Karen Dancers from Omaha performed traditional dances of their ethnic group in Burma; and Kyoko Taiko drummers from Lincoln.

In addition to the performances, there were activities for kids to do such as pumpkin painting and paper origami.

This was the first time the Folklife Network has held the celebration inside Lincoln city limits. The Network’s program coordinator, Dylan Wall, said that in previous years it’s been held in Denton and other areas on the outskirts of Lincoln.

“I think this (Antelope Park) is a great spot for us because it, sometimes we struggle getting people to actually show up to events,” Wall said. “I talked to people who organize events all the time and that’s a big thing now, people just aren’t going to events like they used to. But we got a fairly good turnout today.

“It helps when you have performance groups that are super energetic and wanting to incorporate the audience into their group and get them active with it.”

Nebraska Folklife Network’s Executive director, Gwen Meister, said she wants to continue hosting the event in Lincoln.

“I’m so passionate (about heritage) because I’ve seen how important people’s heritage is to them,” Meister said. “Traditions help young people in a culture to have something to base their life on—gives them a background.

“We want to continue to do this event in Lincoln to continue to have more people come and share and interact with other cultures.”

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