World Holidays Tour Kicks Off the Christmas Spirit

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IMPERIAL – The smells of ethnic foods filled the cultural exhibit hall at Pioneers Museum in Imperial  Saturday evening as it kicked off its 23rd annual World Holidays Tour.

Fourteen different cultures were represented at the museum and their galleries were open to the public, giving out different ethnic holiday foods and activities.  The museum’s upper halls also had representation from valley law enforcement and agriculture while the lower had the veterans and cattle industry groups.  Each country also had a performance for guests from mariachi bands all the way to a lion dance at the end of the evening.

“It really shows that we’re a melting pot,” said Fe Villero, a server in the Filipino gallery, “When you showcase all of the cultures for Christmas, it is really special.”

The Jugless Jug Band, a valley folk band, played lively Irish jigs in the top floor for the Irish gallery.

The museum was built in 1993 with a desire to educate the public on the valley’s cultural history.  It was a way to promote learning and the preservation of the Imperial Valley’s history.  However, the holiday event started two years before the museum was built and held at the IV Expo grounds. As soon as the museum was complete, the World Holiday Tour was transferred to the museum.

Over 200 volunteers put the even together according to museum chief executive Lynn Housoner.  The building was packed with more than 600 people.

“It’s a lot of work, but the fun part is seeing everyone enjoying it,” said Housoner, “The whole community has come together on this.”

Patricia Valle, a visitor from El Centro and mother of one of the ethnic performers, stated that it was her first time at the event and that she loved it.

“They should start them more often, so the kids can learn about their history and heritage from an early age,” said Valle.

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