Today, I saw a poster about the Brookings Summer Arts Festival that will happen next weekend. It is an annual festivity in July that fills the Brookings Pioneer Park with art displays, food varieties, antiques, and entertainment (of course). I believe it is one of the biggest art events in South Dakota that is visited by thousands of people over a two-day period. There are art lovers who meticulously look at paintings, and there are less curious minds like me who, perhaps due to my deficiency in knowledge on the subject of world art, would shy away from buying antique stuff, or tinkering the useful junks (if there is such a term). Over the years since I first attended the event in 2007, there is one convincing reason why I spent more than an hour at the park — it is the Filipino booth.

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In the summer of 2007, it was Ma Carol who forced me… opps, dragged me by the hair…opps, pulled me against my will…opps, invited me to attend the festival. She claims of being my foster mom (wink) and I love her to the max. I was still a stranger to most Filipinos that time. Most of them have made South Dakota their home and have established family life in here. A shy stranger I was, yet, I still got the grandest welcome. Grandest in a sense that I didn’t feel detached from any of them. There was a feeling of instant connection, precisely, right then and right there. Trust me, it was not because of the “piniritong isda”, or the “ginisang mongo”, or the “Boy Bawang” that they offered me for lunch! The connection was due to the sense of hospitality that Filipinos are known for, which I immediately felt.


Also, to see many Pinoys in one occasion and chat with them like there is no tomorrow, reminded me of the normal Pinoy neighborhood — when we love to talk and laugh and sing and spend the weekend away for fun, with friends and our dearest. The karaoke session later that day was one of a kind since, hello, we were in a park with the TV and the microphone with the sound blaring, while the American audience watched us!

Food from the Filipino booth was nonpareil! The accolade must go to Tita Annie and Tito Bing. Hurrah to this lovely couple and their family who filled our empty stomachs with unlimited supply of barbecue, kebabs and eggrolls. Others prepared and shared their delectable Pinoy specialty too. All in all, it was a feeling likened to a happy barrio fiesta. Yeah, that sensation.


Life in the United States is never easy for Filipinos. Over and over again, stories have been told that most Filipino-Americans are not living in beds of roses. That summer of 2007, there were stories told about how marrying someone not of your culture could be a great challenge or even frustration. The people I have met on my first Brookings Summer Festival showcased the courage and determination inherent to most, if not all, Filipino-Americans. They have the perseverance to fulfill a dream of a better life for their families, not just in the States but for those left behind in the Philippines.

Next week’s arts festival will be my sixth. I anticipate a much happier Filipino get together. We, Pinoys are one happy brown race, aren’t we?

Visit the Filipino booth and enjoy the food on July 14 and 15 at the Pioneer Park!


Video: Brookings Arts Festival 2007

Where to stay in Brookings, South Dakota.

Super 8 Brookings Sd (around $85 a night)
Situated in Brookings, Super 8 Brookings Sd is close to McCrory Gardens, South Dakota State University, and Edgebrook Golf Course. Also nearby is Children’s Museum of South Dakota. Super 8 Brookings Sd has an indoor pool and a spa tub. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas. There is a business center on site. Guests are served a complimentary breakfast each morning. Additional amenities include laundry facilities and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. Complimentary self parking is available onsite for guests. The 5 guestrooms at Super 8 Brookings Sd include air conditioning. Complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access is provided. Rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs with cable channels. In-room microwaves and refrigerators are provided.

Quality Inn (around $94 a night)
Situated in the heart of Brookings, Quality Inn is close to McCrory Gardens, South Dakota State University, and Edgebrook Golf Course. Also nearby is Children’s Museum of South Dakota. Guests are served a complimentary breakfast. In addition to a fitness center, Quality Inn features complimentary newspapers in the lobby. Wireless Internet access is complimentary in public areas. Self parking is complimentary. The 50 air-conditioned guestrooms at Quality Inn include coffee/tea makers and hair dryers. Guests can use the in-room complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access. Televisions are equipped with cable channels. All accommodations provide phones along with free local calls (restrictions may apply). All units feature microwaves and refrigerators.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Brookings (around $120 a night)
Situated in Brookings, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Brookings is close to McCrory Gardens, South Dakota State University, and Edgebrook Golf Course. Also nearby is Children’s Museum of South Dakota. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Brookings has an indoor pool, a spa tub, and a fitness center. Additional amenities include multilingual staff, laundry facilities, and coffee/tea in the lobby. Self parking is complimentary. Guestrooms at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Brookings offer complimentary newspapers and coffee/tea makers. Televisions are equipped with premium cable channels. All accommodations provide desks along with free local calls (restrictions may apply). In-room microwaves and refrigerators are provided. Additional amenities include hair dryers and irons/ironing boards.

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