The Multicultural Festival was an event to behold. There were students from all walks of life dressed in bright and beautiful regalia, representing the various cultures and heritages they come from, walking around campus and making Illinois College a sight to behold. Many weeks of organizing had gone into making this event a success, and it is safe to say that the planners were pleased with the outcome.
The real celebration of all things ethnic began at 5 PM in the Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center. Students had tables set up to show off what their traditions were all about, consisting of food, textiles, pictures and maps. The adventurous ones even spoke in their languages of origin. Although these were mere snippets of their lifestyles, they were so rich that everyone that visited was satisfied. There were long lines of people – students, staff and parents alike – who explored each culture as best they could, and the lines did not let up until the end of that portion of the event, and maybe even after. These tables did not only comprise of indigenes of these countries, but also people who had studied abroad or gone on breakaways to exotic places, or various clubs and groups who were proud to showcase all they had learned.
The next part of the event was done on the basketball courts where the equipment had been set up on what was bound to be an amazing occasion. It started off with a fashion parade of all the various cultures being represented in Illinois College that day. There were individuals and there were groups, but each and every person shined brightly, waving their flags in pride and respect. Last but not least was the United States of America which was depicted in its diversity by having a white girl and an African American boy, straight and gay respectively.
Afterwards was the talent portion of the evening, and what a spectacle that was! There were dances from the Legacy Dance Team and the newly announced IC Step Team, songs from all over the world in various languages and various other performances. Here, however, Illinois College continued the ongoing annual tradition of a faulty sound system, messing up a number of performances. But innovative students kept the show going and people entertained, with Leilani Jade-Pecher and Au’Janee Lewis telling jokes and a dance battle between Melissa Solorio and Deja Washington. Even when the music stopped in the middle of the step team’s routine, they just kept dancing with much encouragement from the audience. So in the end, the faulty sound system did not stop everyone from having a great time.
As the festival came to an end, the results of the cooking competition among cultures were announced. There were two portions, the judged and the voted for portion. After the deliberation of the judges for the evening, the Black Student Union, representing African American culture, came in second and Ghana came first. Also, Nigeria was voted for as the most popular table of the event, despite being the last to show up. The winning groups received gift baskets filled with all kinds of nice things, including snacks and gift cards to their favorite places.
A hearty congratulations to the winners, a marvelous show put up by the various people who put in effort to make the event a success, and a big thank you to all who showed up to observe and support them.
Marie Owumi, from Delta, Nigeria, is an undecided freshman in Illinois College, considering a double major in Management and Organizational Leadership and Communication and Rhetorical Studies. Marie is a writer for The Rambler and is also a member of the Gamma Delta, SAB, Newman Club, and BSU.