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Charly Haley, Published November 10 2012

Pangea a celebration of culture

MOORHEAD - Smells of different ethnic foods and sounds of conversations and music drifted through the Hjemkomst Center on Saturday.

Stationed around the Hjemkomst Viking ship were tables offering informational brochures or selling clothing, jewelry and trinkets.

Children collected stickers for their passports.

The “Pangea – Cultivate our Cultures” event, sponsored by the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, was for people to celebrate and learn about different cultures represented in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

“This is a chance for our community to share the best in each other and learn who their neighbors are,” said Maureen Kelly Jonason, executive director of the historical and cultural society.

This is Pangea’s eighth year at Hjemkomst, Jonason said. It was at different schools and churches for at least 10 years before then, she said.

Jonason called Pangea the Historical and Cultural Society’s “signature event,” and said it usually attracts about 1,500 people.

“Everyone comes to learn new things,” she said.

There were many performances and presentations throughout the day, including Kurdish, Sri Lankan, Indian and Filipino dances.

This year’s featured performance was “A Voyageur’s Tale,” performed by the Dance Revels Moving History troupe from Minneapolis.

“A Voyageur’s Tale” portrayed the life of voyageurs in the late 1700s and early 1800s as they traveled through New France, which is now parts of Canada and northern Minnesota and North Dakota, including the Red River Valley. Voyageurs were French and engaged in fur trade with Native Americans.

The three “Voyageur’s Tale” performers danced while one of them played violin. They also interacted with audience members, teaching them to repeat words in French and Ojibwe.

Chairs were lined up in rows near the front of the stage, but at the back were tables where people could eat their food while enjoying the performances.

Danish, French, Greek, Middle Eastern, Haitian, Indian, Mexican, Sri Lankan, Filipino, Somali and Vietnamese foods were featured for sale.

Moorhead’s Tammie Yak, who attended Pangea with her children, said she always goes for the food.

Her children were interested in collecting stickers for their passports.

There was a booth that took kids’ photos to put in fake passport booklets. Most cultural booths had stickers with information about that country to put in the passports.

Yak’s daughter Nia, 11, said she enjoyed Pangea.

“I think it’s really fun to go around and learn about the different cultures, and learn about different things,” she said.

Nia’s sister Isabella, 6, also enjoyed “seeing all the cool stuff.”

Booths represented many cultures, such as Bosnia, Germany, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Haiti, Finland, Ghana and Japan.

Carolyn Nelson and Terri Garske from the local Swedish Cultural Heritage Society said their group has had a booth at Pangea since the festival started.

“It’s great to intermingle with different cultures,” said Nelson, a 70-year-old who proudly identified as 100 percent Swedish.

Garske said she liked that Pangea is free and family-oriented.

“It brings the community out,” she said.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311