Last Friday, the University of Illinois Springfield kicked off the 42nd Annual International festival at TRAC with immense success.
The crowd partook in free food samples from around the world, such as Baba ghanoush, Tres leches cake, Chinese lo mein, and Okra. Bordering the gym were booths with cultural information and resources, novelties, puzzles, games, brochures, and more.
Children crowded around skilled balloon animal makers and made beelines toward a giant red bouncy castle in the Kids Zone. The majority of the crowd, however, was focused on the many dance and music performances from an array of talented groups and soloists.
UIS performers included Afrobeat Dance Crew, Legacy Dance Team, Baile Monarcas, Epic Praise for Christ Dance Team, and The Royal Starettes Majorette Team. All dancers put their heart and soul into the performances, while passionate crowd members cheered their friends and family on. The UIS International Student Association held its prized International Fashion Show past the midpoint of the night, showcasing contemporary global aesthetics at the highest level. Audiences also caught sword-balancing bellydancers, Croatian family musicians, R&B from Torch-Nation, traditional Irish dancers, and plenty of others.
A common theme throughout the performances was the harmony that multiculturalism can bring to those who recognize and celebrate it. That night every single person in the building came together to celebrate as one, despite coming from a rainbow of different backgrounds. There is always something universal that people from diverse walks of life can find in common with one another. Love for music, dance, food, and celebration knows no color or ancestry.
Sponsors included International Student Services, Chancellor Koch, The Journal at UIS, and International Student Association. For more information on previous International Festival events or to access International Student Services contact information, visit www. uis.edu/internationalstudentservices/cutural-educational-events/international-festival/.