Festival at Minnesota capitol brings together diverse crowd for celebration of nations

Large crowds gathered outside of the Minnesota State Capitol on Saturday, for the Merge Twin Cities Celebrating the Nations festival.

The event was meant to help people from different races come together and learn more about one another.

"I haven’t seen anything like this before," Samuel Huinil of Guatemala told FOX 9.

After a year of social unrest that divided many, and a pandemic that kept us apart, the day was used to bring everyone back together.

"It’s exciting, our heart is just to bring together the nations of the Twin Cities and fostering environment of unity," Merge Director Peter Schuett said. An environment of unity, regardless of backgrounds, and complete with food trucks, games, live music, and tents showcasing unique cultures from tens of different ethnicities and nationalities around the world.

TJ Valtierra came on behalf of the Red Lake Nation, sharing indigenous art and beadwork.

"I just really wanted to be able to represent my nation," Valtierra said. "There’s people who have ignorance or miseducation and a lot of times it’s easy to just let our emotions be offended by that but instead I look at it as an opportunity to educate people."

"We’re still here, I think a lot of times people think Native American people are historical beings and we had costumes and all this stuff but we’re still here. We’re still alive and we’re still thriving," Valtierra continued.

Samuel Huinil came to represent Guatemala.

"It’s a great opportunity not just to show the Guatemalan culture but to get to know other cultures too," Huinil said.

Despite the differences in background they all shared a willingness to learn more about each other.

"You learn something, you bring it back home, and then you bring something from your country to their country, and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be I believe," visitor George Coleman said.