The halls of Mill Creek Middle School in Dexter will come alive with parades and costume contests in conjunction with the Swiss festival of Karneval on Feb. 4.
The event is being organized by teachers Agnes Krynski, Amy Olmstead-Brayton, Cherilynn Sing, and Kathryn Schmid, who are currently teaching students about the geography, cinema, cuisine, and holidays of Switzerland.
Much like Mardi Gras festivals in the United States, Christians throughout Europe celebrate Karneval before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
On Monday, Margrit Zinggeler of Eastern Michigan University and Walter Wegmüller, honorary counsel of Switzerland, will speak at the school, sharing stories about the customs of Karneval, and Michigan's connections to Switzerland.
"It's our goal to have students see and practice cooperation. Switzerland has four official languages and has remained politically neutral," Schmid said.
Following the presentation, there will be a wagon parade of themes related to Swiss products, landmarks, or historical events. Students will present their ﬂoats in French, German, English, and Italian.
"Most of the students have chosen a theme for their wagon floats and must create a movable, small representation," Schmid said.
Prizes donated by the Swiss Consulate in Chicago will be awarded for creativity.
The presentations are open to the public, and will take place on Feb. 4 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Dexter High School, and 11 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. at Mill Creek Middle School.