There have been dramatic changes in Eden Prairie since its population boom began in the 1980s, including more ethnic diversity. The percentage of students of color in the Eden Prairie Schools has grown from 4 percent to about 30 percent. More than 20 percent of our population is non-white, and about half that group is Asian.
Eden Prairie is a much more diverse and interesting community than it was 30 years ago, and that’s worth celebrating. But we don’t know as much as we should about each other’s background and culture, so it’s worth trying new ideas for community gatherings like the Aug. 3-9 PeopleFest! celebration that gets underway this week in Eden Prairie.
PeopleFest! is a community celebration of cultures, one intended to raise awareness of what a patchwork quilt we are, demographically. It’s the result of true collaboration: The city and schools are among the lead organizers, but so too are the Foundation, Eden Prairie Chinese Association, Eden Prairie Library, the city Human Rights & Diversity Commission, Interfaith Circle, and others.
Activities are free and include a movie in the park, performances, a “human book” event, cricket demonstration, book-club gathering, Community Education class, and more.
(Download a flier with the complete schedule here.)
The culmination is a PeopleFest! Party from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, at Staring Lake Park, where there’ll be live performances and lots of information booths staffed by organizations that serve Eden Prairie’s many cultures.
To make this event happen, there was an open call for performers and organizations to participate. But it’s a first-time gathering, so there’s a good chance that someone was overlooked. It would be great to make PeopleFest! even bigger next year, so if you notice that an organization was missed, let us know.
In fact, we welcome all your feedback. A lot of the events will have an evaluation form on hand. But also know that you can send an e-mail to the Foundation’s executive director, Mark Weber, at [email protected]. Offer your suggestions; you can be certain they’ll be shared with the other organizers.
And, please: attend one or more of these events and rub shoulders with your fellow Eden Prairie residents.