West Union Street was crowded with people rather than cars Saturday afternoon.
The flags of dozens of countries fluttered on College Green, lifted by breezes tinged with the smells of roasting meats and other international delicacies. Large sound speakers placed adjacent to a stage in Howard Park played live music that listeners swayed to in the grass below. Some were Athens residents, others were Ohio University students and staff, and still others were moms visiting for the weekend.
The 50th International Street Fair and OU’s annual Moms Weekend fell on the same Saturday this year, bringing extra visitors eager for special cultural experiences to Uptown Athens throughout the afternoon.
Lisa Kamody, whose daughter Maddie is an undecided freshman, celebrated her first Moms Weekend this year. Although the Kamodys live in Athens, both were happy to share the weekend together and attend the International Street Fair, where they tried different international foods.
“It’s one of my favorite things,” Lisa said.
The recently re-established Caribbean Scholars Association was present at the street fair for the first time in recent years. Its table offered bits of trivia on Caribbean culture, food and music, and students present were happy to give dance lessons to anyone interested.
Paige Andrew, a graduate student studying communications and the treasurer of the Caribbean Student Association, hopes that regrouping will help them share the culture of the Caribbean islands with both domestic and international students in Athens.
“Most people don’t know about the Caribbean region,” Andrew, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, said. “If they do, they went on a cruise, or they may know Jamaica, but they’re not sure where anywhere else is. Even some of us don’t know about the other islands, so we think it’s a good opportunity for Athens to learn about the Caribbean.”
Lloyda Garrett, a graduate student studying Latin American studies and the vice president of the Caribbean Scholars Association, was excited to reunify the increasing Caribbean student population on campus through the organization and to share their culture through events like the International Street Fair.
“We’re all about having fun and living life to our fullest, and we just wanted to bring that type of energy here,” Garrett, who is from Guyana, said. “It’s one of the things we miss from home, and it’s one of the things that everyone can relate to. That’s the type of energy we want to bring.”
Garrett had her first experience with the International Street Fair this year, but she very much enjoyed spending the day sharing her culture with others.
“We are having an amazing time,” she said. “We were in the parade, and we were dancing with the Marching 110. It was so much fun. We’ve been having a really amazing time.”
In addition to the International Street fair, plenty of other activities were available for students and moms to enjoy throughout the weekend. On Saturday night, comedian Demetri Martin performed a show in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.
Kelsie Rinard, a graduate student studying teacher education, attended OU for her undergraduate education, too. Because she’s experienced Moms Weekend before, she and her mom decided the comedy show would be a nice, relaxing way to spend the weekend.
“My sister and I really loved Demetri Martin in high school, and we were really excited so we kind of just texted our mom, grabbed tickets last minute and were really excited to just kind of end the day here,” Rinard said.
Alice Demith contributed to this report.