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International Street Fair celebrates global humanity

Keamogetse Khudu, the president of the International Student Union, or ISU, at Ohio University was surprised – but grateful – by the large crowd of people filling the space across from the Class Gateway and on the corner of East Union Street and South College Street throughout the day Saturday.

The 2023 International Street Fair brought students, faculty, community members and anyone who noticed the around 110 flags representing the home countries of OU students from all over the world lined around College Green. 

A man holds the flag of Ghana as he walks down Court Street with the parade of the flags as part of the International Street Fair on April 8, 2023, in Athens, Ohio.

“I know the previous street fairs we’ve had had a huge turn up, but because it is the holidays I’m so surprised and I’m so grateful that (the) Athens community and OU community … (are) on campus celebrating,” Khudu said. “Our theme this year is celebrating our global humanity and I was saying in part of my speech earlier that it is so good to see that we all can actually show up for one another.”

The International Street Fair is the final event of OU’s International Week. From April 3 to April 8, celebrations of cultures from all over the world occur, with the street fair being one of the most popular each year. According to OU’s website, International Week became an annual celebration in 1979 and the street fair has been held on Court Street since 1982.

The ISU serves as the umbrella organization for international student organizations on campus. Khudu said the street fair hosted 12 of the organizations under ISU. 


Although people such as Khudu did not expect such a large turnout throughout the entirety of the street fair’s 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours, the support from attendees made for a satisfactory day of learning about different countries and their cultures. Khudu said after the flag parade at 10:30 a.m., which was a walk that kicked off the street fair, people were already in the street meeting vendors and engaging with organizations.  

“We walked here with the flag parade and then it was already filled,” Khudu said. “I’m sure organizations are very, very happy. To be honest, without our international organizations, there’s no street fair. People come to see them.”

Similarly, Tithi Patel, the vice president of ISU and a sophomore studying nursing, said it was just great to watch people learn and interact with international organizations and vendors, especially because Patel also did not expect such a large crowd. 

“I feel so good because I did not expect this many people,” Patel said. “It’s just been so great. People want to know more about international culture and a lot of people are showing up and trying all kinds of different culture. So yeah, it feels really great.”


Patel’s favorite part of the street fair was eating food from Nepal. The Nepalese Student Association, or NEPSA, had a few tables at the fair. One of them was for selling momos and the other was for sharing traditional Nepali items with others. 

Saurav Prasai, a first-year graduate student studying transportation engineering and a member of NEPSA, said the organization sold out of momos within a few hours of the street fair. Momos are a type of steamed dumpling filled with vegetables or meat. Patel’s favorite momo sold by NEPSA was the chicken dumpling.

“We had one difficulty,” Prasai said. “We were hiding the food in the kitchen and we were bringing (it) back and forth so people would have hot food.”

After the momos were gone, all the attention could be paid toward the symbols and items representing Nepali tradition and culture on the other table. One item on the table was a khukuri – a recurved traditional knife, which originated in Nepal, according to Nepal Traveller.

“This is a symbol of our bravery,” Prasai said. “Our ancestors fought using this. We didn’t have a lot of weapons or other things. We saved ourselves in crisis using this.” 

Also according to Nepal Traveller, the khukuri carries religious values as “the blade’s shape represents the trinity symbols of ‘Brahma,’ ‘Vishnu’ and ‘Shiva,’ the three major Hindu Gods.”

A table serves Thai food at the International Street Fair on April 8, 2023, in Athens, Ohio.

The one out of many items on NEPSA’s table at the street fair contained significant cultural importance and a deep history. With all of the other organizations involved, the amount one person could learn at the street fair seemed infinite, which is maybe why each year, as Patel said, people anticipate the event. 

“Everyone is looking forward for the street fair every year, which is our event most people come to,” Patel said. “That’s always been successful.”


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