QUEENS, NEW YORK
You don’t have to travel to your ancestors’ homeland to get in touch with your ethnic heritage. You can experience it firsthand in the United States. New York World Festival: Music Around the Mediterranean is a three-day festival highlighting the music of Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon and many other Mediterranean countries. The World Music Institute and the Center for Traditional Music and Dance present more than 70 musicians and dancers from the New York area and abroad. From Sept 20-22 the festival takes place at the last remaining turn-of-the-century beer garden in New York City — Bohemian Hall. Join in the celebration as this remnant of the past becomes a National Historic Landmark. Workshops, concerts, lectures and dance classes are among the featured activities. Call (212) 545-7536 for more information.
ONCE UPON A TIME
The oral tradition of storytelling connects us to the past with tales of our ancestors’ adventures and everyday lives. The International Storytelling Center preserves this art form by hosting the National Storytelling Festival each year in historic Jonesborough. Master storytellers will capture your imagination and interest with their tales from the past. The festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, Oct 4-6. One festival favorite is Exchange Place, where featured storytellers from across the nation perform their best tales onstage. And anyone can give storytelling a try at Swappin’ Ground. Call for ticket information (800) 952-8392 or visit <www.storytellingfestival.net>.
COMING UP ROSES
Do you have roots in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland or Iceland? If so, here’s an ethnic festival that’s sure to bring out your Scandinavian side. The Twin Ports Scandinavian Festival will take place at Head of the Lakes Fairground in Superior on Oct 5. It’s a perfect opportunity to develop an appreciation for the Scandinavian art form of rosemaling. This intricate style of flower painting made its debut in the United States when immigrants from Norway introduced it in the mid-1800s. In addition, live music, baked goods and Scandinavian crafts are sure to be crowd pleasers. The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is $2. Call (218) 624-5158 or see <www.visitduluth.com>.
Go for an evening stroll through the accurately restored village of New Salem, and learn what life was like in the 1830s. The New Salem State Historic Site was Abraham Lincoln’s home from 1831 until 1837. During Candlelight Tours at New Salem, you can visit Honest Abe’s old stomping grounds, guided by the light of candle lanterns. From Oct. 4-5 interpreters inside log homes will offer friendly, informational commentary while villagers passing by on covered wagons “head west.” You’ll even witness an encampment of the New Salem Militia. Call (800) 545-7300 or go on the Web to <www.visit-springfieldillinois.com>.
MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA
HOST WITH THE MOST
The country’s largest Scandinavian festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary Oct 9-12. The Norsk Hostfest is four days packed full of entertainment, ethnic foods and handmade crafts. Hundreds of craftspeople demonstrate wool spinning, pottery-making and other Scandinavian arts. At Viking Village in the Sky you can learn beading and other Viking skills. Another popular feature of the festival is the Black Plague Rat Game, which is big among adults and children. Knock the fleas off this life-sized, diseased “rat,” win a prize and pose for a picture with the festival’s notorious varmint. The zany fun doesn’t end there, though: In the Troll Beauty Contest on Oct. 12, children design Viking clothing and troll masks for a nontraditional beauty pageant. Order tickets by calling (701) 852-2368 or by visiting <www.hostfest.com>.
NEW YORK CITY
GET IN THE GAME
Now until Jan. 5, discover the nation’s playful past through the display of popular games at the New-York Historical Society’s Luman Reed Gallery. The Games We Played: American Board and Table Games From the Liman Collection shows visitors how Victorian families entertained themselves from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the 20th century. Take on an opponent at one of the interactive game stations, sampling old-fashioned fun such as The Man in the Moon (1901), Rival Policemen (1896) and ‘Round the World with Nellie Bly (1890). Manufactured primarily in New York, the games illustrate stereotypical images prevalent at the time, gender roles and the shift from rural to urban lifestyles. Call (212) 873-3400 or visit <www.nyhistory.org>.