Sunday, August 29, 2010

The 2nd Annual Lake Norman Shalom Festival

Today Sue and I went to the 2nd Annual Lake Norman Shalom Festival. Our daughter, Sarah, volunteered as a parking director, so we thought we'd go over and see her at work. The Festival featured music and dancing, mostly of the Eastern European variety. The band was comprised of an accordion, upright bass and clarinet. The dancing ranged from a simple Hora to some more complicated Yiddish Square Dances. There was also a conga line.

Ethnic dances have their roots in the social lives of the places in which they originated. Whole towns would turn out for these festivals, usually in the late summer or fall, just before, or after, the hard work of the harvest. The dances all required changing partners, which lent a sense of fraternity to the proceedings. It was also a chance for the young people to meet and express their interest in one another, under the careful eyes of their elders.

Ethnic food, and bagels of all description, were on hand to feed the hungry. The Festival began with the blowing of the Shofar and was immediately followed by dancing and music. There was a bottle dance workshop, in which people were challenged to dance, or even walk, with a bottle atop their heads. The professional dancers, of course, did the best job of this, but there were several young children that gave them a serious run for their money. There was also a magic show and a Shofar blowing lesson for the kids, along with a story teller.

This was the 2nd Shalom Festival sponsored by the area's 5 Congregations, ranging from Conservative to Reform. The whole thing was organized under the banner of The Jewish Federation, whose mission is to promote the traditions, values and goals of the Jewish faith for future generations. And today they more than met that goal.

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