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Participants in the International Street Fair flag parade gather at the stage in front of Alumni Gateway on Saturday. (PATRICK CONNOLLY | PHOTO EDITOR)

International Street Fair to bring culture to Court Street

Students will have a chance to sample international food and dance to traditional music on Court Street this weekend.

The annual International Street Fair will take place Saturday at 11 a.m. The event will be hosted by the International Student Union and will feature food, performances and activities from about 25 member organizations.

“It gives me pleasure that the domestic students … get to experience different food and different cultures in just a one-stop shop,” Hashim Pashtun, the president of ISU, said. “It’s like, ‘OK, we did something different to give that experience.’ ”

The event is part of International Week, an annual, weeklong celebration of international culture. Even though the event falls during Easter weekend, Pashtun, a doctoral student studying civil engineering, is not concerned about turnout.

“The street fair always conflicts with something,” Pashtun said. “It’s either Number Fest, or some fest, or Moms Weekend or Easter weekend. Still, the number (of organizations participating) is pretty high.”

The event is a way for many member organizations to raise money for next year’s events, so they do not hire any outside vendors, Michael Grossi, the programming director for ISU, said. Each organization makes traditional food themselves to sell to attendees.

Pashtun said his favorite part is eating food and dancing to international music on Court Street, which “rarely happens.”

One new element of the fair will be a scavenger hunt, Grossi, a senior studying marketing, said. Because some people might be timid to approach tables that feature cultures that are unfamiliar to them, a scavenger hunt will encourage people to visit each table. There will be a clue at every table and participants will get a chance to enter a raffle to win one of five prizes after they have gone to each table.

“I think it’s a really great thing to support,” Grossi said. “We don’t have a huge international population when you are comparing to other colleges in the U.S., but I think Athens community is a great area, and there’s so much culture throughout the local businesses.”

The event will also be compliant with ISU’s no-waste initiative by maintaining stability without compromising quality, Pashtun said. ISU took steps during Fall Semester to try to be as sustainable as possible during all events and in day-to-day activities, according to a previous Post report.

Some of the dishes that will be available include a traditional Chinese egg dish and a noodle dish by two Chinese student organizations, and a meat dish by the Turkish Student Organization, Yvonne Yan, the programming director of ISU, said.

“Every year we just keep doing it because we just want to spread multiple cultures to the campus,” Yan, a senior studying strategic communication, said.

Carla Triana, the president-elect of ISU, is emceeing the event, and she is excited to try different international foods.

“You have to bring like $50 just for all the food because it’s so good,” Triana, a senior studying international business, said.

It is important for both domestic and international students to attend an event such as the street fair to learn and interact with cultures different from their own, Yan said.

“People really need to know what’s going on … in the world,” Yan said. “I really recommend … American students come to the street fair (because) it’s really a cool experience. You can see and experience (many) different cultures at the same time.”


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