Experience the world at International Festival

CU students can experience the world from the comfort of the Glenn Miller Ballroom this Saturday at International Festival.

“The International Festival is one big party organized mostly by international students from all over the world,” festival co-chair Thomas O’Neill says. “Students come here for not only a great education but also to make great friends, have great life experiences, and through things like the International Festival, maybe leave a bit of themselves here too.”

The festival will include booths from 29 different countries and regions, special performances and free food.

O’Neill says the latter will be a big draw for starving college students. Before the event, the committee does a taste test of all the cuisines the different booths have to offer. O’Neill assures attendees, who get to leave with a cookbook of all the recipes, the food will be “quite excellent” this year.

Beyond the food, O’Neill says the event will have a diverse group of professional and student-organized performances.

“At what other event can you experience belly dancing, a capella singing, martial arts demonstrations, a Chinese lion dance, a gamelan orchestra, a fashion show and Celtic step dancing?” O’Neill says.

O’Neill says the festival has grown so much since it got its start in 1990 that organizers actually have had to start turning away groups because they can’t all fit.

“We already have problems accommodating all of the guests that wish to attend the event,” O’Neill says. “For this reason, the festival will have to expand into other spaces in future years in order to meet the increasing demand. It would not surprise me if the festival doubled in size five to 10 years from now.”

With their growing size, festival organizers hope to create a greater sense of unity between students and the community. As stated in their mission statement, the event’s goal is to promote a platform of diversity among students and international groups while encouraging them to rediscover what makes their background and culture unique.

“The main goal is to help make the experience here at CU and in Boulder as good as it can possibly be,” O’Neill says. “Hopefully when students go back home or otherwise move on with their lives, they’ll look back on all of the experiences they had here and remember them fondly.”

By Marlee Horn for the Colorado Daily

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