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Hoan Do, left, and Anh Pham cook Vietnamese spring rolls at the International Street Fair on East Union Street on Saturday.

Annual International Street Fair brought warmth to OU

The scent of traditional, foreign homemade food brought together Athens residents, Ohio University students and visiting moms this weekend. 

The 49th International Street Fair took place Saturday and celebrated cultures and cuisines from all across the world. Despite the cold weather, a large crowd gathered at East Union Street where the event took place. 

The Indonesian Student Association gathered a long line of customers with its stall selling stir-fry noodles and satay with peanut sauce, a grilled meat dish popular in Southeast Asia. The booth had a grill where event attendees could watch members of the organization grill the lamb and chicken skewers over a charcoal fire.

Sadie Lamparyk said it was her fourth year attending the International Street Fair, and the food is one of the things that draws her to the event every year. The chicken skewers sold by the Indonesian Student Association were delicious, and she said the stand was one of her favorites of the day.

“It’s fun to see how every year it changes,” Lamparyk, a senior studying communication sciences and disorders, said. “Since we have such a large international student population, this is a great way to showcase that.”

The different international students organizations sold various cuisines, from Nepalese momos — which are dumplings with either a meat or vegetable filling — to Vietnamese spring rolls and Chinese egg pancakes. 

Drinks were also available during the event. The Thai Student Association was selling its popular Thai iced tea that quickly sold out as the temperature became warmer.

Usually, the International Street Fair takes place on Court Street, which is longer than East Union Street. The decreased distances between each of the booths ended up being more beneficial, Qingu Qin, a graduate student studying linguistics, said. 

“It’s easier to bring together all the different associations to connect and talk with each other,” Qin, an international student from China, said. 

Abby Genter said she would love to study abroad. But just by attending the International Street Fair, which she described as a mini-melting pot of cultures, she said she was able to try different cuisines from across the world. 

“It’s really nice to see people have pride in their cultures, and it’s just fun to experience other cultures,” Genter, a junior studying biological sciences, said. 

The event began with the annual flag parade as OU students marched from Baker Center to the event’s stage at Howard Park. Colorful flags from countries all across the world were waving proudly to the beat of drums. 

After the opening speeches, Carla Triana, the president of International Student Union, stood on stage and encouraged the crowd to repeat a familiar chant from the organization.

“Many nations,” Triana said.

“One family,” the crowd replied. 


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