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Festival of Nation’s set for April 6

Tricia Tuntland | Staff Writer | 04-03-2012

Come one, come all and enjoy a night of international dancing, music, fashion and cuisine, as Bemidji State University’s International Student Organization (ISO) hosts their 44th annual Festival of Nations on April 6.

The Festival of Nations is more than just a cultural event, it is a BSU tradition. Since 1969, it has been an entertaining and educational evening for many at BSU and in the Bemidji Community.

“The wonderful thing about the Festival of Nations is that it offers something for everyone. Based on the feedback that we have received throughout the years, the event has been well received,” ISO President Naree Greenland said

ISO members have been planning the details for the event since last November and said it requires student leaders to step out of their comfort zones and really engage with other students, faculty and community members.

“It’s a lot of work putting together an event like this, but it is also a great leadership opportunity for students interested in developing these skills,” Greenland said. “We definitely look to our international students, but also to the entire student community. Our committee has anywhere between eight to 12 coordinators and we’re looking to have over 100 volunteers on the day of the event.”

Greenland said each year there is always food, dancing, music and, of course, fun, and they do not plan on making this year an exception. In fact, this year they are bringing in a new activity.

“This year we are encouraging young participants to get their passports stamped at the many booths or exhibits. Each year there are new things to see and do,” Greenland said.

Due to the large number of attendants and expenses that go along with advertising and preparing cultural dishes, the event is not free, but the profit is not what is important, Greenland said.

“It is not our intent to make a profit. However, the entry fee defrays operating costs substantially,” Greenland said. “For us and for the university, it is about the sharing of cultures. This is why the event is so successful each year.”

Junior Krystal Constenius, who attended the event last year, is looking forward to the upcoming festivities. “I went last year and it’s really cool because I know a lot of the international students,” Constenius said. “It was very educational and I learned a lot about my friends’ cultures. It was great to see everyone connect and really have a good time.”

The Festival of Nations will be held on April 6 in Memorial Hall 100 from 3 p.m to 7 p.m. and is open to the public.  Student cost to get in will be $3 with an ID and $5 for the general public.

For more information about the event, e-mail the ISO at bsuiso@gmail.com or look for flyers posted around campus.

The ISO looks forward to sharing the food, fashion and performances of the culture with everyone who can attend.