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The 2018 World Food & Music Festival Welcomes New Culture in a Truly Special Way

Naturalization Ceremony at the World Food & Music Festi

September 13, 2018

The World Food & Music Festival is proud to host a Naturalization Ceremony for the U.S. District Court on Friday, September 14 at 11:30 a.m.

Naturalization is the process by which a foreign citizen or national becomes a U.S. Citizen. Festival guests are welcome to watch this special ceremony and celebrate the achievement of these individuals.

Ancestral journey

My great-great grandparents, Catherine Green and Patrick Mannix were born in Ireland and together came to the United States in the late 1800’s. To be honest, I’m not sure why they came here, but like so many people who have started a new life in the U.S., whether by choice or forced by circumstances, I can imagine they sought out a new place to call home for reasons along the lines of relief from one country or pursuit of freedom in another. In any case, I do know it wasn’t easy, and I know it took an incredible amount of courage to leave what they knew for an unknown future.

After they settled in Park City, Utah, they had nine children and numerous grandchildren including my grandmother, Catherine Hays. As a child, my grandmother shared countless stories about her aunts, uncles and siblings in such a way that I felt that I knew these people myself. I was fortunate that their stories carried on throughout the generations, and even though I never met any of these family members, they remain in my vernacular as if we shared a lifetime of adventures.

Catherine and Patrick’s journey across the Atlantic Ocean was just the start of how my family became Americans; they decided to pick up and plant new roots of my family tree in American soil. Millions of Americans have a similar story, and last week I had the opportunity to witness approximately 50 individuals conclude their own journey to the U.S. at a Naturalization Ceremony in Downtown Des Moines (DSM).

A tradition worthy of celebration

Naturalization is the process by which a foreign citizen or national becomes a U.S. Citizen. The U.S. gives many rights exclusively to its citizens. These include voting, being an elected official and having priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to the U.S. To go through this process, these individuals spend countless hours preparing, they must pass a civics test and complete a list of requirements. This ceremony was the conclusion of what is often years of hard work. This was a big day for these individuals and their families. As the ceremony completed, the new citizens hugged family and friends, snapped photos and, with great enthusiasm, registered to vote. I felt honored to be the random observer in the back of the room. 

Bringing the ceremony to The Festival

I am event planner for several festivals around Downtown DSM, and one of the biggest events I get to work on is the World Food & Music Festival. My team and I work year-round to create an experience at The Festival that allows people to celebrate what makes our city so great — the diversity of cultures, food and music here in the heart of the capital. Over the years, this Festival has grown into a spectacular event, bringing in more than 90,000 guests each year. It shows me how important it is having an event that celebrates the people of DSM, which is why we’re partnering with the U.S. District Court to host a naturalization ceremony at the World Food & Music Festival. We hope you’ll join us in cheering on our newest Americans on Friday, September 14 at 11:30 a.m. in Western Gateway Park. The ceremony will take place at the Polk County Board of Supervisors Main Stage which is located near 12th and Locust Street. For more information about programming and schedules, visit The Festival’s website.

Millions of Americans have a story about how they came to the U.S. Knowing the dedication and commitment that has gone into this day for these individuals, it is an honor for our Festival to welcome and celebrate those who have chosen Iowa to be a part of their next chapter.

The World Food & Music Festival in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) features international cuisine, live music and performing arts, cooking demonstrations, wine and craft beers and much more. Savor the region’s premier cultural experience by visiting worldfoodandmusicfestival.com.

Colleen Murphy

Colleen Murphy is the Director of Community Relations for the Des Moines Arts Festival® and assisted with sponsorship for the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market.