The International Club will host Cultural Avenue in the Rowenhorst Student Center on Feb. 1 beginning at 5 p.m. Come enjoy ethnically diverse food, activities and performances put on by Northwestern students.
To get into the event, college students need $2 in addition to using a meal swipe. The cost for the public to attend is $15 for adults and $5 for those ages 4 to 15. Children ages 3 and under may attend for free.
This year’s take on the annual event will embody a street market atmosphere, hence the name Cultural Avenue. The club hopes that this new setup will create more interaction between event participants and those in attendance. Conversations among cultures are not only permitted but heavily encouraged.
The doors will open at 5 p.m. but based on the tendency for long lines at past cultural fairs, guests are advised to arrive early if they want to try each kind of food. Once inside, the night will kick off with food originating from seven different areas of the world including Korea, Latin America, South Africa and the Netherlands. Dishes will be arranged in a semi-circle so that people can go to whichever dishes they would like to try.
“We’re hoping a lot of interaction will begin then because people will be like ‘What is this dish?’” said Tori Buckler, vice president of I-Club and co-head of the event’s food committee.
Buckler envisions that interactions will progress to “hopefully creating more conversation of ‘What is culture like for you?’ because we all have different cultures whether you’re from the states or are an international student.”
Following the food, there will be various activities for guests to take part in like an origami table hosted by Japanese students and a henna table with roots from Indian and Arabic cultures. There are also 11 performances to be viewed such as the 2019 NCDC winning group “Technical Difficulties” and a fashion show displaying unique apparel from different cultures.
“We hope that the cultural fair will be a time and a space where people can slow down from the craziness of life and just get to know each other, about their cultures and about who they are and what makes them who they are. That’s the real, true essence of cultural fair,” Buckler said.
Since the cultural fair is the largest event that I-Club and the intercultural office put on every year, an estimated 30 to 50 students will be helping to make the event run smoothly. The club tries to include not only international students but also people who are able to contribute their time and talents to the event.
Given the magnitude and multifaceted nature of Cultural Avenue, the planning of the event has been underway since November of last year.
“The earlier the better. That way we can order everything and make sure we have enough variety,” Buckler explained.
I-Club is a place for students who seek to unify international and American students through a faith-based environment. They try to create spaces for people to learn about different cultures and what those cultures can teach them. The club was founded in 1975 and has been putting on the cultural fair for most of its history.
In addition to Cultural Avenue, I-Club and the intercultural office will also be hosting a music and arts festival titled Beloved along with Holi, a traditional Nepalese and Indian holiday celebrated by throwing colored powder at friends and family.
Buckler added that the club focuses on “diving into questions like: what is diversity? What does that look like? How do we approach it? And how do we love each other in the midst of diversity?”
Cultural Avenue will conclude after the last performance around 7 p.m.