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A young girl recieves her prize after playing a game at the Japanese stall during the International Street Fair on Court Street in Athens, Ohio, on April 18, 2015. The street fair was part of the International Week festivities organized by the International Student Union and their member associations.

Students give the thumbs up for the conclusion of IWEEK

Court Street got a little more colorful with the International Street Fair

Court Street was closed Saturday as the thoroughfare filled with music, the smell of homemade food and, most importantly, people for the International Street Fair.

The fair concluded International Week, and received a healthy turnout with the competing #Fest that occurred the same day.

Tables were set up along the street with international organizations and local vendors who sold food, jewelry and had free activities to draw crowds.

The fair had a performance schedule that featured various dances from Thai and Chinese cultures and even American folk bands. Performances began at 11 a.m. and ran until 5 p.m.

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Hannah Borowski, a freshman studying political science and global studies war and peace, sang Frozen’s “Let it Go” in 25 different languages.

“What I was going for was something that represents our international students in a positive way, while also something that’s attractive and familiar to us Americans,” Borowski said. “International Week is all about supporting international students and their cultures, but it’s also about American students.”

Nissa Aprilia, a first year graduate student studying Asian studies, performed a welcome dance for the crowd and helped table for the Indonesian Student Association by feeding crowds lamb satay.

“It was fun because you share your culture in way,” she said. "There’s a reason why we’re in this spot. We usually have the longest line because of lamb satay. We ran out with about an hour left."

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There were also tables set up at the fair for organizations that support the agenda for peace and equality. Essam Mikhail grew up and went to school in Athens and now runs the Ohio University Fair Trade group. At their table they sold fair-trade items that would usually be exploited through abusive business trade, like coffee, handmade clothes and purses.

“I was here last year and it was done on Easter weekend, and there were not a lot of American students,” Mikhail said. “It was a success, but this year, there is a lot more students and out-of-town students. The idea is to expose American students primarily. It’s something different to think outside the box.”

Wichanon Sae-jie, a second-year graduate student studying mathematics, is president of the Thai Student Association.

Sae-jie said they combined with the Southeast Asian Student Association and the Southeastern language department for a table at the event.

“This is the first time we did these activities, and everyone loved it,” Sae-ji said. "It’s over my expectation. We also try to teach them how to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you.’ ”

The organizations also tried to incorporate participation among children so they can experience international cultures early on.

“We did the passport project today, and little kids came go a sheet of paper they got to go to every booth and get a stamp on their passport,” said Molly Burkhalter, president of UNICEF and a junior studying global studies. “I think this is the busiest I’ve ever seen this. It’s something we can incorporate it for future activities.”

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About 30 tables lined the street as people enjoyed the food, cultural offerings and the Saturday sun.

The overall experience during the International Street Fair was a joyful one on sunny Saturday.

“I’ve attended for four years, and I love the street fair because it’s rare to see these kinds of things,” said Greg Atkin, a senior studying theater performance and global studies. “I always feel so white-washed, and there’s this beautiful array of colors and cultures. It’s a great afternoon, and a fun time. I got to learn about Oman, which is fabulous, and I love hearing Indian music.”


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