Guests can travel around the world in one night thanks to a returning event under the leadership of a new organization.
The Alliance for Greater Equity is taking the lead on the popular World Foods and Brewfest from 5-9 p.m. this Friday, bringing the usual winter event to a new summer location at the Oak View Event Center on Highway 45 in Owatonna. The event, which is in its 12th year, was previously a fundraiser by the Cultural Diversity Network (CDN) and offered up international cuisine and homemade beers from local brewers.
In late 2020, CDN joined forces with the Better Together Committee to become the Alliance, making their public debut in January.
Alliance Board Member Sue Schroeder has been involved with the brewfest event since its began in 2010 through her work with CDN – which she joined in 1996. Though the event was originally a fundraiser for the Culturfest summer event that took place in Owatonna for 20 years before ending in 2018, Schroeder said there is a great amount of energy and excitement from the Alliance and where the funds from the event will go moving forward.
“It’s important that the work with racial equity and awareness is happening all the way through the year, all year long,” Schroeder said. “Although the festival was a great time that allowed for celebration of different cultures, having this work done through the calendar year is important and we are all really excited about it.”
The funds raised at brewfest will go into the education pillar of the Alliance, which aims to provide learning opportunities and resources to increase equity, create meaningful change, and empower new perspectives on race and cultural differences. According to Alliance Treasurer Mandy Young, the money raised on Friday will help supplement some upcoming educational events they are preparing to launch in the fall with the help of a few grants the organization was able to receive.
“This is going to help us put in place an education series, public forms and a mentoring program as well as help sponsor other events that celebrate equity and culture,” Young said.
By purchasing a $25 ticket – which Young refers to as a “passport around the world” – guests will be able to sample seven entrees and three desserts that represent different cultures and places around the globe, samples of the home brews, and access to the silent auction items that will be exclusively online this year.
Menu items include quiche from France, bratwursts and kraut from Germany, Korean cucumber salad, grilled Mexican sweet corn, grilled kabobs from Turkey, arapas with chicken from Venezuela, and a grilled Venus clams recipe out of Vietnam.
“The most unique dish is definitely the clams,” Schroeder said, noting that a committee member tried the recipe while in Vietnam last year and knew she wanted to bring it back to the annual event. “It’s the kind of food you would find if you went to a street fair and we decided we were going to give it a go.”
While some of the foods that represent local communities in the area are prepared by those in said community – such as the local group of Somali women who prepare the sweet dumplings called kaimati for the fundraiser – Schroeder said a bulk of the food is made from committee members and volunteers in the days leading up to the event.
“We always want to represent our local community as well as allow people to get a taste of cuisine from different parts of the world they may or may not have been exposed to before,” Schroeder said. “We try to give people a little bit different of a culinary experience each year.”
Both Young and Schroeder recommend picking up the few tickets remaining as the event commonly sells out in advance. Tickets can be purchased in person at Foremost Brewing Cooperative, Mineral Springs Brewery, Kottke Jewelers and Tri M Graphics. Tickets can be purchased online at allianceforgreaterequity.org.