Pasta, Family & Warm Welcomes at the Italian Pavilion

From a young age, Angie Boehm had the aspiration to get involved in the community. She distinctly recalls being sixteen years old and begging her parents to let her volunteer at the Italy/Sicily Pavilion during the Folklorama Festival, certain she would find herself a nice boyfriend. In those days, you could find Angie operating the gelato stand, busy scraping the Italian dessert for eager festivalgoers. While she never did find a suitable boyfriend within those walls, what she did find was a passion for her culture. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, Angie is still actively involved in the Italian Pavilion, where she gets to experience pizza and pasta, espresso and cannoli, tambourines and tarantellas, and warm hearts and welcoming smiles at the annual event. She has taken on the role of Pavilion Coordinator, a position that entails dedicating countless hours to year-round planning.

Managing a pavilion requires a keen eye for detail, mastered organizational skills, and time devoted to gathering with other Pavilion Coordinators and the Folklorama operations team at meetings. While an intensive role, the rewards that come with it resonate with Angie. As someone who treasures her heritage and the opportunity to share it with others, she recognizes the impact that taking part in the festival has.

 “This festival, which brings people together through sharing culture, sharing traditions, sharing our humanity in an effort to understand each other… I believe with all of my heart and soul, if we could figure out how to bring this very basic idea of celebrating diversity to the rest of the world, we just might accidentally achieve world peace. Accepting each other in celebration of our differences could be the key to unlocking ignorance and fear. We need more Folklorama in this world…now more than ever!”

Angie has passed her love for celebrating culture on to her children. It began with them dancing on stage during the shows to standing by her side and helping her run the pavilion, bringing the event to a successful presentation year after year.

“This is a tough job. Be organized. Read everything…twice. Ask questions. Go to Coordinator Meetings! Sometimes your questions will be answered by a seasoned coordinator. Don’t reinvent the wheel…see if someone else has a spare wheel you can use. And don’t sweat the small stuff. Before you know it, the week is over, and you will be sad. Don’t worry, you will start planning again in November!”

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