During the ninth annual World Cultural Fair, students gathered at Manchester Plaza to celebrate culture, cuisine and choreographed routines representing countries from around the world.
Taking place on Sept. 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., this event was planned by the Intercultural Center (IC).
“The goal of the World Cultural Festival event is to showcase the variety of culture that Wake Forest has to offer,” IC program coordinator Ja’Mahl McDaniel said. “Each year the event has given space to many culturally-based students organizations, departments and local partners to share their talents with our Wake community.”
In order to promote a cross-cultural experience at the fair, students were able to freely sample food representative of multiple different countries and regions. Ranging from Caribbean to Mediterranean food, tables were filled with savory dishes and sweet desserts such as vegetable korma from India and baklava from the Middle East.
To pair with the culturally-distinct meals, international student groups also gathered on the plaza to promote awareness of their culture and membership. The clubs present included the South Asian Student Coalition and the African and Caribbean Student Association (AFRICASA), to name a few. Along with student groups, the French, Spanish and Italian departments were present.
While attendees learned about different student groups and enjoyed the various food stations, the IC presented a series of performances from different groups on campus. These included, but were not limited to, a salsa routine from Ritmo Latino, a dance group that celebrates Latin culture, an “Afro-rhythmic” performance from AFRICASA and a series of spoken word poems from Can-I-Poet addressing cultural identity. One of the two speakers, freshman Cassie Ball, shared a piece titled “Grandfather Says.”
“[This piece is] about how a lot of times we look for culture in faraway places, but sometimes culture is right in our own home,” Ball said.
The Momentum dance crew, an all-inclusive dance group on campus, also performed two numbers for the crowd.
“I enjoyed performing in front of my peers and feeling supported at Wake Forest,” freshman Hannah Schmidt said. “It was an honor to be given the opportunity to perform alongside the other talented dance groups on campus. Everyone is extremely supportive of one another and it creates a special bond between the dancers.”
In between student performances, professional performer Marcos Napa took the stage to perform and discuss Afro-Peruvian dance and music, a popular genre in Peru. He introduced an array of musical instruments specific to Peruvian culture, and interacted with the crowd to teach dance techniques.
In tandem with the performances throughout the event, the IC provided multiple other activities for entertainment. To promote visitation of the different student organizations, the IC provided students with a “passport.” Once it was signed by all six stations, they would be placed in the running to win a raffle. Guests could also play games such as “Name that Country,” take photos in the photobooth, and get a professional henna tattoo.
“The Intercultural Center hopes that participants of the event learned about traditions and cultures that are cherished by our students. Each performance and table showcased a small piece of passion which we hope is appreciated by the crowd,” McDaniel said.