BIG RAPIDS – Delicious food, unique dance steps and diverse music are just a few features of Ferris State University’s 22nd annual International Festival of Cultures from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 11, in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room.
The festival, Ferris’ signature international event of the year, provides a platform for the University’s international students, faculty and staff to create an environment for learning about different cultures through food, entertainment, crafts, shopping and more. Open to the campus and public, the festival is an opportunity to experience international flavor without having to travel abroad. This year’s festival features more than 25 stations representing countries from Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and North America. Each table will distinguish itself with unique dishes. Tickets for tastings are 50 cents per sample. Ferris students can bring their student ID card and receive three free tastings at the event.
Luzia Tartari, coordinator of international student recruiting at Ferris, sees the festival as an event that exposes the public to Ferris’ diverse international community. Tartari shared that the theme of this year’s festival is "One World, Many Faces."
"This is always a special and fun event for our international students who put in a lot of work and preparation," said Tartari, who estimates approximately 2,000 people typically attend the festival. "The students begin preparing their dishes several days in advance and take a lot of pride in cooking these traditional dishes."
Students and staff traveled to Chicago and Grand Rapids to obtain ingredients, including some specific spices, that are required to prepare their food.
A highlight of this year’s festival will be the opportunity to buy fair trade products from Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages is an organization that purchases handcrafted items at fair prices from artisans around the world and sells them throughout the U.S.
Shana Beisiegel, administrative assistant in Ferris’ International Center, believes the sale of international products should create additional excitement this year and enhance an appreciation for different cultures.
"This is going to be an awesome opportunity for those who will be attending the International Festival of Cultures," Beisiegel said. "There will be a lot of cool opportunities to purchase unique items that are not as easily available."
An international crafts room will be set up for children attending the event to make international souvenirs. Children also will have an opportunity to take shots at a piñata. This year’s festival will feature international dancers, singers and musicians to provide entertainment along with multiple fashion shows.
Jill Jepsen, a visiting professor of art at Ferris, will be doing face painting, according to Beisiegel.
For more information on the International Festival of Cultures, the International Center or other upcoming events, visit www.ferris.edu/international.
Anyone with questions regarding this event, please contact Shana Beisiegel at (231) 591-2824 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.