Annual International Festival a Success for Twenty-Ninth Year

The Charger Bulletin

WEST HAVEN–Last Saturday marked the Twenty-Ninth Annual International Festival at UNH. This is a remarkable event put on by the International Student Association. If you haven’t gone yet, what are you waiting for? For five dollars with a UNH student ID, you get an all-you-can-eat buffet of various cultural dishes. I suggest not eating at all before hand if you would like to try food from every country. You get full servings, not Sam’s Club samples. As you digest, the countries present perform all sorts of traditional songs, dances, and ceremonies. 

The purpose of the festival is to learn about other countries. Each country had flags, photographs, and pieces of art to showcase. The exhibitors were very friendly and very informative. Fourteen displays were set up around the gym at North Campus: Nigeria, Brazil, China, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, India, Turkey, Russia, Malaysia, Thailand, USA, Caribbean Student Association, and the Latin Student Association.

Three awards were given for Most Informational, Most Interactive and Best Cultural Presentation. Saudi Arabia won Most Informational and India won Most Interactive Country (visitors could get tattoos!). The final category ended in a tie between Malaysia and Russia.

I’ve been going to the International Festival for four years now, and I’m normally a very picky eater. I have always enjoyed the food there, but this year was the best so far. Everything was packed with flavor. Most of the entrees were very spicy, especially the chili chicken from India which was a kick to the taste buds. It was hard to taste anything after India. Russia had milder food and the honey cake was very sweet. Nigeria received a lot of visitors due to a delicious fried dough dessert called a puff puff. Three food awards were also distributed: the Best Appetizer award (Turkey), Best Entrée (tie between Nigeria and Afghanistan), and Best Dessert (Brazil).

Last but not least was the entertainment portion of the night. The two Masters of Ceremonies were Yauhan Mehta and Nimisha Monpara, who kept people laughing between acts. First up was the Chinese Lion Dance performed by the Western Zickefoose and another member of the Wu Dang Kung Fu Academy. This dance was easily my favorite of all the performances. The lion moved throughout the audience and played fetch with itself. Turkey’s traditional marriage proposal skit earned the Most Original for the night. India and Russia caused another tie, winning Best Visual Appeal for their cultural dances. China defended its championship title for Best in Show with an umbrella dance.

The International Festival is an amazing cultural experience. It is definitely something all students must see before graduating. It’s Epcot without the Spaceship Earth. The Thirtieth Annual Festival will be held around the same time next year.