The event, which took place Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Alexandria Technical and Community College, featured cultural food made with authentic ingredients, Native American drumming, dancing and more.
"The event was a tremendous success," said Jeremy Vinar, community member who was on the planning committee for the event. "We weren't sure what to expect for a first-time event, but had made conservative guesses of about 200 to 300 people."
Vinar said rough estimates after the event had the actual attendance at about double what was expected. He added that a number of the restaurants that had provided food samples graciously ended up making even more samples than what they had first brought over.
"Many of our vendors made comments that if we continue next year, they want to participate again," said Vinar.
Deb LeDoux from the Literacy Project and the Inclusion Network, who was also on the planning committee, said the event went fantastic for a first-time effort.
"I only heard positive comments about the food, entertainment and opportunity it gave people to meet and learn about other cultures in our community," said LeDoux.
She said because so many want to make this a yearly event, the small planning committee is meeting this week to brainstorm how to keep it going but with even more community members participating.
Besides Vinar and LeDoux, the other members of the planning committee are Cindy Haarstad and Eli Dotts from the Alexandria Technical and Community College, Bea Hadler from the Literacy Project and Tom E Lee, program director morning show host at Z99 radio in Alexandria.
Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.