The 34th annual International Fair at Knox College showcased cultures from around the globe.
The private college said more than 10% of its students are from outside the U.S. They represent more than 50 countries.
The festival began with a parade of flags. Each flag bearer greeted attendees in their native language. The parade was important to senior Armor Wisler of Switzerland.
“I’m the only Swiss person on campus, so I’m really glad that I was able to do it my four years here, knowing that I might be the last one in a long time,” Wisler said.
The parade of flags was followed by a talent show, and table displays showed off various aspects of a country or continent’s culture and heritage.
The table for Japan taught people how to make origami, while the table for Vietnam let visitors play with a dragonfly toy that balances on a finger.
One table combined the countries of Africa, and had participants perform different dances and music of African culture.
Tope Bakare of Nigeria said displays like theirs can help break stereotypes.
“The whole point that we like to show them the Africa like you never see on TV. Like a whole different Africa. The modern kind, not the old one you see on TV,” Bakare said.
The fair ended with a food festival. Options included Indonesian spicy chicken curry, German bread, and Japanese pancakes.
Diandra Soemardi of Indonesia said sharing her homeland’s food is like sharing a bit of herself.
“We just grew up with it, and it’s a big part of our life. And to share this with the Knox community is really special for me,” Soemardi said.