Marshall University celebrates 54th Annual International Festival


Jared Casto

(From lefy) Indonesian graduate students Fatmawati Akhmad and Maria Jochu and Vietnamese graduate student Nih Nguyen pose alongside traditional Indonesian items. The Indonesian booth won first place Saturday for most attractive booth at Marshall University’s 54th annual International Festival.

Pamela Young, Reporter

After years of the International Festival being at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, nearly 2,000 students, faculty, staff and members of the Huntington community came out to celebrate the festival’s return Saturday at Marshall University’s Memorial Student Center.

“This is very different than last year,” Sana Ghori, sophomore Pakistani student, said. “This year, space was very limited, so it was a bit crowded, but it felt more like a festival due to the confined space.”

The Memorial Student Center was decorated with nearly 30 flags representing different countries, which hung above the guests as they interacted with booths, restaurants, entertainers, as well as Marshall’s international students.

Various performances and activities took place during the event, such as performances by the Voodoo Katz, Wood & Wine, an Indian Bollywood dance, an African dance by the Pan African Student Association and the World Fashion Show with participation from Mr. and Ms. Marshall and Marco.

“I enjoyed the performances, as well as the photo booth, which they did not have last year,” Ghori said. “Seeing so many students participating to show off their country was exciting. It shows how much we’re growing as a family, not just a community.”

International students also performed, featuring karate, an Indonesian singer, an Egyptian belly dancer and Japanese songs.

“My favorite performance was the Indian Bollywood dance,” sophomore Sydney Ankrom said. “I find the Indian culture very fascinating. Seeing it performed live definitely made me more interested in the culture.”

Children in attendance were provided with complimentary passports that were stamped as they moved from one booth to the next as they participated in games and an interactive map of the globe.

“I would highly recommend for students who have never attended to definitely mark that on their calendars for next year,” Akrom said. “It was a great experience, and you get the chance to learn about cultures outside of your own.”

Pamela Young can be contacted at [email protected].