Kimberly Marqui brought her two horse-loving daughters to the Festival of the Horse and Drum in St. Charles Saturday where they could admire the magnificent animals and see the various cultures represented.
Makaylah, 6, and Brianna, 4, of St. Charles got to take in the pageantry with their mom. Marqui said Makaylah is taking riding lessons and working with horses to help build her confidence.
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"Coming here, it's like a dream come true for her," Marqui said. "To see horses up close, pet them, see them do the dressage ..."
The Festival of the Horse and Drum celebrates cultural diversity as well as different styles of riding throughout the weekend at the Kane County Fairgrounds. The second annual event honors cultures and traditions using horses as a common thread.
There were a variety of horse displays and demonstrations throughout the fairgrounds, as well as areas divided by themes such as a cowboy town, a renaissance village and a Mexican salsa village.
"We bring together all different ethnicities with their horses," event coordinator Lisa Diersen, of St. Charles, said last week. "We are the United Nations of horses and humans."
Noting a Pow Wow going on a few feet away, Marqui said that getting to see cultures that kids normally just read about is another draw. "This is extraordinary," she said.
Horse-related movies are shown at the festival as part of the 2014 Equus Film Festival. Live entertainment is featured at the Horse-A-Palooza stage, where dance troupes and cultural bands perform.
In addition to the festival, auctions raise money for Horses of Honor, which honors fallen police officers, and Operation Support Our Troops, which helps members of the military and their families.
The festival continues from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at the fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Road.