Home>News>Campus>BSU Hosts 43rd Annual Festival of Nations
Campus News

BSU Hosts 43rd Annual Festival of Nations

Jordan Shearer | Staff Writer | 4-2-2012

A performance from the Festival of Nations. Photo by: Patrick Rudlang

This past Saturday, students, faculty, and community members gathered in the Beaux Arts Ballroom to celebrate the Festival of Nations.  The day consisted of musical and dance performances as well as a fashion show where many different cultures’ outfits were showcased. In addition to all of that, there were numerous ethnic foods provided to the visitors of the festival.
The event was put together mostly through the work of the students.  Adam Dandar, advisor for the International Student Organization, stated that although there were a handful of additional volunteers involved in the process, the majority of the planning and implementing for the day was done by eight to ten students.
“This is really a student-driven event,” Dandar said.  Because of the relatively small work force and the vast amount of preparation that needed to be done, the planning for this four hour festival has been going on since November.
The afternoon began with a procession of 33 different nations’ flags including those of the United States and Canada.  They were carried into the ballroom and onto the stage where they remained for the singing of the National Anthem by BSU senior, Eric Bergsven.
In accordance with the festival’s priority of celebrating diversity, the dance performances contained a far range of styles.  There were students who danced in jeans and t-shirts to Michael Jackson’s “Whatever Happens.” There was also an American Indian family unit of three daughters who danced in traditional Ojibwe outfits to a song that was sung by their father while he performed on the drum.
One of these dancers, Amayah Little Wolf, commented that dancing is a large part of her culture.  “I’ve been dancing since I could walk,” she said.
The fashion show included over 25 different people wearing styles from a variety of cultures.  Something that was interesting to note was that the models and the outfits they were wearing did not necessarily come from the same country. BSU freshman Rachel Horsma, the graphic designer for the event as well as one of the models in the fashion show, said the reason for that is partly because many of the international students simply did not bring a lot of their traditional clothes with them.
There was more for people to do, however, than just watch the various performances.  As already mentioned, there was an abundance of food available for purchasing.  The choices included delicacies such as chicken tandoori from India, miso soup from Japan, and jerk chicken from Jamaica.  To go along with these meals, the recipes for them were collected into a small pamphlet for people to take home.
In addition to the food options, there were booths that offered merchandise such as international trinkets, decorations, and Festival of Nations T-shirts. There was also a booth that was providing face painting and henna tattoos.
There were several breaks from the official performances, during which time there were a number of trivia questions asked, such as “Where is Mt. Fuji?” and “How many colors are there in the Kenyan flag?” The people who answered the questions correctly received prizes including extra food tickets and T-shirts.
While speaking of the Festival as a whole, Lucy Nyamunda, an international student from Zimbabwe, said that “It’s more than just a show. It’s students showcasing their cultures.”