Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

In with the New Long-Running Pittsburgh Folk Festival Re-Brands Itself as Celebrate Pittsburgh

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

In with the New Long-Running Pittsburgh Folk Festival Re-Brands Itself as Celebrate Pittsburgh

Article excerpt

After 58 years, a long-standing Pittsburgh institution is getting a makeover. In a city like Pittsburgh, where traditions are revered and respected, that's news.

The Pittsburgh Folk Festival will now be known as Celebrate Pittsburgh.

"We spoke to a number of agencies about the perception of the festival at large, and they suggested a name change to attract a modern demographic and newer immigrants," said board president Karen Hall.

The all-volunteer leadership decided that a multi-year rebranding effort was necessary and came up with a name that it felt was more inclusive of the many programs and cultural groups under the umbrella of the Pittsburgh Folk Festival. The new name and its motto "Celebrating Cultural Heritage since 1956" is more representative of what the festival is about.

One of the important components of the festival is the multicultural education program. This year's theme focuses on the UNESCO World Heritage sites. These are sites such as The Statue of Liberty, St. Peter's Square and other attractions that are important to a country and its cultural history.

The program attracts students from all over the region and meets state guidelines for multicultural education, Ms. Hall said. The students participate in "Around the World in a Day" where they get a passport and visit booths learning about the world cultures. Educational initiatives include the folk arts, music, history, culture and geography. Each visit awards a passport stamp and students can show their "travels" for the day.

"There are programs for grade levels two-12 and a high school program for grades nine-12 that will focus on international careers." That program will feature a panel discussion with representatives from the World Affairs Council, California University and the Peace Corps. Students will attend through their schools.

This year the festival will be open to the public for only one evening and organizers hope to return to a two-day event next year. Ms. Hall explained that the rebranding effort has required a lot of work so they wanted to focus on quality programming.

What hasn't changed is the festival's tradition of great international music. …

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