From Nepal to France, festival celebrates culture

Vanessa Marcano

Vanessa Marcano

On April 3, Frost Arena will become the main stage for one of the most diverse events in both SDSU and the community of Brookings: The Festival of Cultures.

Starting at 9 a.m., the Festival of Cultures will offer six hours of global and domestic entertainment accompanied by a selection of food, a bazaar, art and information booths in celebration of this year’s slogan: Many nations. One world.

Louis Whitehead, head of the Office of Diversity Enhancement and coordinator of the Festival of Cultures, said that the main mission of this event has always been education, as well as bringing the community together to share different cultures, not only within SDSU but also in the surrounding areas.

“It’s about looking at various cultures from around the world and learning to appreciate similarities and differences among people,” he said.

The Festival of Cultures, which has been held annually for 27 years, will feature 38 display and bazaar booths on the main floor of the Arena, 21 food booths on the track and a line-up of entertainment groups throughout the day.

Campus organizations such as the Spanish Club, the French Club and the German Club will have both display and food booths at the festival, while other student associations and alliances, such as the Indian Students’ Association, the Chinese Students’ Association and the Black Students’ Alliance, will offer ongoing short performances in the main area.

One of the newest SDSU organizations, the Global Studies Club, will also be represented at the festival. Suzie Roth, global studies major and president of the Global Studies Club, said their booth will be packed with information about SDSU’s Global Studies Program, photos, artwork and details regarding global issues, such as climate change or fair trade.

Roth said several Global Studies Club members will be at the booth ready to share their own unique cultural experiences, particularly those linked with SDSU’s study-abroad programs.

Additional student organizations involved in the Festival of Cultures include Chicanos In Action, the Native American Club, the South Dakota World Affairs Council and South Dakota Students for Fair Trade, among others.

Aside from the several ethnic food booths, some of the characteristic attractions in the Festival are the hourly performances by different cultural acts and organizations. This year, the entertainment will be kicked off by the Dakota District Pipe and Drum, a Scottish pipe band from Sioux Falls, followed by the Amazing Budabi Brothers, a juggling act from Minnesota.

Other entertainers outside the SDSU student community will be the Flandreau Indian School Hip-Hop and Powwow Dance groups and the Sioux Falls Mariachi Band, who will close the afternoon of performances.

Qiji Deng, veterinary science major and president of the Chinese Students’ Association, said that in addition to their food and artwork booth, the CSA is planning on showcasing traditional Chinese dances.

Katik Shah, food technology and nutrition major and secretary of the Indian Students’ Association, said that his organization would be presenting a small series of Bhangra and fusion dances from India.

At around midday, a collaboration of international and American students will “strut their stuff” during the International Fashion Show, featuring traditional dresses from around the globe.

Carol Snell-Feikema and Kevin Schnaser, Spanish instructors, will add to the cultural mélange with a repertoire of Latin American and folk rock songs.

David Karki, president of the International Relations Club, said that the festival is one of the largest cultural events on campus and in the community.

“This is not like the similar international events we have on campus; it is bigger, and it includes people from both SDSU and other parts of the region,” Karki said.

The Festival of Cultures is free of cost for students with an SDSU ID and $1.00 for the general public.

#1.881747:3390092967.jpg:IMG_9005_Aileen Rodriguez.1.jpg:Global Studies Club President Suzanne Roth and Treasurer Trifon Theodosopoulos share a laugh while organizing for the upcoming Festival of Cultures.:Aileen Rodriguez