Festival of Nations

Saint Paul RiverCentre
175 W Kellogg Blvd
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Field tripsGetting There

Founded in 1919, the International Institute of Minnesota was created to address the growing need for resources and transitional support dedicated to immigrant families arriving in Minnesota. Today, the Institute remains committed to its mission to “help New Americans achieve self-sufficiency and full membership in American life,” striving to be a beacon for those seeking sanctuary and a new way of life.

For nearly 85 years, the Festival of Nations has inspired people throughout the region to discover more about our world and embrace the rich cultural diversity brought to us by immigrants from around the globe.

The Festival is the longest running multicultural festival in the Midwest and collaborates with more than 90 ethnic groups to create a truly unique experience – one that celebrates cultural heritage and provides our community’s immigrants with a platform to express their stories through world-class performances, exhibits, ethnic cuisine, and personal connections.

Exhibit Area Passport
Passports are a mock version of the real thing, with blank spaces inside. Each Exhibit has its own stamp pertaining to the ethnic group it represents. Exhibit Area booths will stamp your passport when you visit their booth. Some of the exhibitors will even write your name in their language. Passports make a great souvenir. Passports can be purchased in advance from the Festival of Nations Office or at any Information Booth at the Festival for $1 each. A postage and handling fee of $1.50 per 25 passports applies when ordering Festival of Nations Passports in advance using the Student Ticket Order Form (Word).

Exhibit Area
You can travel the world under one roof in the Exhibit area at the Festival of Nations. This is a fun and interactive activity. Cultural exhibits highlight ethnic groups, allowing you to learn about both those peoples who have official country borders and those who do not. Plan to spend at least an hour in the Exhibit Area.

Mini Language Lessons (½ hour/class)
Concordia Language Villages will sponsor mini language lesson again this year! The mini language lessons will take place all four days in the Exhibit Area. Stop by the Concordia Language Villages booth and pick up a ticket to ensure your spot in the class of your choice. Past languages have included Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Japanese, Finnish, Norwegian, and German.

Green Card Voices
Green Card Voices was designed for individuals to learn more about life stories of first-generation immigrants and to address commonly held stereotypes. Additional Green Card Voices materials are available at greencardvoices.com/programs/

Enrichment Activities
Print the PDFs linked below or pick up materials at the Student Activity booth.

  • Storytelling: Compare & Contrast (PDF)
    • Explore the Festival of Nations by taking a closer look at what stories mean to different cultures. You can use this worksheet to compare and contrast two different stories from the same ethnic group, or to examine similar stories from two different ethnic groups. Describe or draw the similarities and differences by looking at characters, setting, historical or religious influences, and story arc.
  • Folklore Scavenger Hunt (PDF)
    • Students can submit the completed Scavenger Hunt to the Student Activities Booth to be entered into a drawing or obtain their answers. Students should feel free to fill in the back of the sheet with any information they gather on the historical, cultural, or social importance the different items
  • Naturalization Jeopardy
    • This is a fun game to play prior to the Festival. This activity focuses on language used in the questions of the Naturalization test.
  • Branches of Government (PDF)
    • Use this worksheet to go over the various branches of the United States government and the roles they play.
  • Benefits of Becoming a U.S. Citizen (PDF)
    • This list provides some of the benefits you receive once you become a citizen.
  • Eligibility & Document Checklist (PDF)
    • See what the requirements are to become a U.S. Citizen.
  • Naturalization Mock Interview & Test (PDF)
    • Do a mock interview to see what some of the questions are asked during citizenship interviews. You can also answer different questions from the Naturalization Test.
  • Naturalization Application (PDF)
    • This is the initial application required to apply for citizenship.
  • Ethnic Groups without Borders (PDF)
    • There are many ethnic groups around the world that do not have officially-recognized countries or borders. In some cases a group's nomadic lifestyle may cause them to exist in several neighboring countries simultaneously or depending on the season, while other groups may constitute one of several different ethnic minorities within a particular nation. This activity allows students to explore different ethnic groups without borders in order to learn more about their unique cultural products, practices, and perspectives.
  • Multi Cultural Exploration
    • This activity has been designed for the students to further their knowledge about a country of their choosing. This activity can also be transferred to the classroom after the students have experienced the Festival. Students can work independently or in partners on this activity. To enhance the learning experience, students can research their country at school or at home prior to the Festival. Using the KWL Chart (PDF) is a good way to get started.

International Cafe
Enjoy the different tastes found around the world at 35 different ethnic food Cafés. From Norwegian lefse to Thai noodles, each Café is an experience in world dining. Plan to spend another $5-$20 per person for food in order to enjoy sampling from the different authentic ethnic Cafés. (Students may bring bag lunches, water, and backpacks, but they will have to be carried as there is no place to store them.)

International Bazaar
Come, stroll, and immerse yourself in the International Bazaar, featuring unique imported gifts from more than 40 cultures. Take home a beautiful souvenir from one country or more! Bring your pocketbook, you’re bound to find a treasure here! Items in the International Bazaar vary in price from $2 to $50 or more.

International Demonstrations
Authentic folk artisans practice the craft that has been passed down to them through many generations. Their interactive and educational demonstrations are a must-see! Plan the time to immerse yourself in old world arts that will have you coming away totally amazed.

More than 100 music and dance groups performing continuously on three stages throughout the Festival. Students are treated to exclusive performances by the Ethnic Dance Theatre as well as other folk dance groups presenting cultures from all over the world in the Roy Wilkins Auditorium on Thursday and Friday of the Festival.

Field Trips

For more information regarding school orders and curriculum, please contact Maria Sidorenko, Education Outreach Coordinator, 651-647-0191, ext: 306 or msidorenko(at)iimn.org.

Group Size: There is no minimum group size, but those planning to attend during Student Hours should purchase their tickets in advance using the School Ticket Order Form so that the International Institute of Minnesota knows how many students will be attending the Festival.

Note: School group prices are the same as the advance prices offered to everyone. Advanced tickets are sold at select Twin Cities Lunds and Byerlys locations (Burnsville, Chanhassen, Eagan, Eden Prairie, France Ave., Edina, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, Ridgedale, Roseville, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, and Woodbury) and at the International Institute of Minnesota (1694 Como Ave St. Paul, MN 55108).

Target Grade Level: designed for children currently in grades 6 through 12

Parent/Educator/Chaperone Policy: All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Sibling Policy: While the Festival of Nations doesn't recommend bringing children who are younger than 11 years old, you may use your own discretion. Be aware that student days can get a bit hectic. Younger children may be happier with a Friday evening or Saturday or Sunday visit.

Cancellation Policy/Cancellation Deadline: Refunds are available until mid April, less a 15% handling fee. All tickets must be returned to the Festival of Nations office in order for a refund to be issued.

For more information, visit www.festivalofnations.com/schools/

The World Pass is good for all of the days of the Festival and can only be purchased in advance at the International Institute of Minnesota, 1694 Como Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108.

For more information, visit festivalofnations.com/ticket/

Getting There

Parking Information: The RiverCentre Parking Ramp is located at 150 W Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul, MN 55102, next to the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Driving Directions: Located in downtown Saint Paul.

From I-35E north, take exit 106B for Kellogg Blvd and turn right.

From I-35E south, take exit 107C for Wacouta St/10th St. Stay left on Wacouta St. Take the 3rd right onto 7th St E. Turn left onto N Robert St. Turn right onto Kellogg Blvd E.

From I-94 east, take exit 241A for W 5th St. Merge onto W 5th St. Turn right onto N Washington St. Take the 2nd right onto Kellogg Blvd W.

From I-94 west, take exit 243 for US-61/Mounds Blvd toward Kellogg Blvd. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Mounds Blvd N/US-61 and merge onto US-61 N/Mounds Blvd. Turn left onto Kellogg Blvd E.


Information subject to change. Please check with Festival of Nations for the most current information. Last updated on Thu, Mar 16, 2017.