This Saturday, Jan. 27, Northwestern’s Rowenhorst Student Center will come alive with the music, food and cultural displays of the International Club’s annual Cultural Fair.
The evening will begin with a dinner featuring a variety of cultural foods, followed by a stage show that will include singing, dancing and performances to showcase the diversity of several cultures and countries.
In addition, the fair will include a fashion show, small gift shop and interactive booths.
New to the Cultural Fair this year is a game booth featuring henna tattoos, instructions in creating origami art and games that will help others learn more about the countries represented at the event.
Another change is in the setup of the event.
“The event will be set up in a market style this year,” said I-Club president Ya-Wen Liu. “This will make it easier to enjoy the food, country displays and performances all at the same time, and it will also encourage those who attend the fair to take in the entire experience instead of one aspect at a time.”
The I-Club, which currently consists of 200 members, has put in a significant amount of effort to make this event a success. According to Liu, planning for the Cultural Fair begins early in the fall semester — and often before the academic year begins.
“We begin to look for recipes and people who would be willing to perform in August before school starts,” Liu said. “Once the semester begins, it is also time to create posters, begin fundraising for the event and continue to search for performers, decorations and people who are willing to help with food preparations.”
Some of the performance features will include traditional and pop Japanese songs performed by a local high school group and traditional music from Taiwan, performed by Liu.
In preparation for each Cultural Fair, core members of the I-Club select a theme for the event. This year’s theme is “The Beauty of Difference.”
“This theme means that we are all different in some way, whether it be through skin color, race, accent or belief,” Liu said. “This difference is what makes the world beautiful, and the goal of this year’s Cultural Fair is to show that these differences make the world beautiful, just like how different colors make a painting beautiful.”
The I-Club hopes the Cultural Fair will show others that there is always something you can learn about other cultures, countries and people.
“I really want people to respect the culture, even if it does not meet their expectations,” Liu said. “Movies and stereotypes may be different than what a culture or country actually is, and what you see in media is not always reality. The whole country is not the same, and there are always things that you may not know.”
NW’s Associate Dean for Intercultural Development Kevin McMahan recognizes the value in the Cultural Fair.
“The Cultural Fair is a wonderful opportunity to share the global cultures of the International Club with NW and the greater community,” McMahan said.
All those interested in attending an event centered around culture and difference are encouraged to attend the Cultural Fair that represents “The Beauty in Difference.”
Doors open at 5 p.m. with the stage show beginning at 5:30. Tickets are $13 for adults, $6 for children 8 years old and under, and $3 for NW students with a Meal Plan ID.
Both the students of NW and the surrounding community of Orange City are invited to attend.