FACES of Ames celebrates the city’s diversity and unity


Janet Gray, of Ames, helps untie a knot of a balloon during the FACES of Ames 2011 event at Bandshell Park, Saturday, Sept. 24. Gray represented the Ames chapter of the Tri-T Society which was selling snippet bags, Rada cutlery, nuts and gift card holders.  

Tommie Clark

Bandshell Park was filled Saturday with people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds for the “FACES of Ames” event. 

According to unitedames.org, “FACES of Ames is a celebration of the diversity within Ames that unites us and makes our community unique. This daylong event brings nonprofit organizations, ISU clubs, social organizations, businesses and community members together to create a sense of inclusiveness and appreciation of the diversity in Ames.”

Booths and showcases were set up all along the sidewalks in Bandshell Park. Local bands, dance groups and choirs performed throughout the day as well. Stands ranged from big to small, and organizations were both old and new.

One group that had participated in the event before was ISU Extension, an “organization part of Iowa State University that takes the university’s research and turns it into learning opportunities for Iowans so families make better nutrition choices, kids and teens explore interests that can lead to future careers, and a lot more.”

“This is definitely a very positive and neat way to showcase programs, especially for our office that has lots to promote,” said Melissa McEnany, the office assistant at ISU Extension – Story County. “It’s also a good way to get to a wide variety of people. FACES of Ames really highlights everything Ames has to offer.”

Organizations of all types benefited from the event in multiple ways.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for everyone. I see it as a great chance to learn about organizations available,” said Mary Wilkins, county 4-H Youth Coordinator from ISU Extension.

There were also booths that were at the event for the fist time, such as the Unity Church of Ames.

“So far, I am very impressed. It’s an opportunity to interact with people that you wouldn’t normally get to,” said Liz Holzer, a member of Unity Church of Ames.

“I’d say the overall event has been successful, we have had a good number of people stop by to ask questions,” said Jo Self, also a member of Unity Church of Ames and the part time administrative assistant of the church.

Although groups of all types were involved, many thought there were still room for more.

“I encourage and recommend coming to this event. It’s great, I would love to have more organizations and business get involved,” Self said.

There were even booths for brand new organizations, such as Shoplr, a smart phone application connecting local people with local places.

“We’re just getting started out; it’s fun to check out the best of what’s going on in the community,” said Nathan Haila, one of the co-founders of Shoplr. “I would definitely like to participate in the future.”

Visitors to the event came for many reasons, such as to get an education on different ethnic backgrounds, to enjoy the live performances or even to complete a school assignment.

Anniken Westad, a second year graduate student from Norway, went to the event for a general news assignment for a journalism class at ISU.

“It’s a beautiful day; there are lots of people and fun activities,” Westad said. “It’s just such a great opportunity to see what’s in Ames. Everyone should come.”