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April 13, 2018

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The International Fair features food of other cultures, but also other parts of cultures, such as traditional dances.

Photo courtesy of MU Marketing 



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Annika Harley and Ashton Krider '17 participate in the 2016 International Fair.

Photo courtesy of MU Marketing


International Fair Brings Excitement, New Experiences 


Evan Harris

Grab your passports, appetites, plates and forks, as you are about to take a trip to the biennial International Fair this Sunday, April 15, from noon until 4 p.m. in the main arena of the PERC.

As is tradition, this year’s fair will represent 15 to 20 different nations. Students from these nations will present different foods and cultural expressions, such as live entertainment.

The International Fair has its origins in the mid-1970s when it was a dinner that celebrated the international cultures present at then-Manchester College.  In the early 1990s, the first International “Fair” was born as part of International Education Week.  As time progressed, the Fair grew in size and moved to the spring semester of even years to ensure that international cultures are recognized and celebrated.

Indeed, this fair took a “fair” amount of planning. Director of Intercultural Services Michael Dixon oversees all aspects of the event. “I have convened the meetings to discuss all of the separate but related pieces of the fair,” he said.

Arpan Paul, East Hall resident and international student from India, has culinary plans for the Fair. “I am the lead cook preparing Indian dishes,” he said. “My friend, Richard Anthony, and Professor Uma Ganesan are going to help me with food preparation also.”

Paul is particularly excited about cooking food for everyone who will attend the fair. “They will get an opportunity to try authentic (my native) Indian cuisine,” he said.

Dixon is looking forward to the event as well. “Visitors will learn more about foods, cultural experiences, and other interesting things,” he said. “My favorite part of the fair is when it’s in full swing and people are interacting at the booths, tasting new foods, seeing old friends and watching and engaging with the cultural acts.”

Once the fair ends, plant will begin for spring 2020. What is Dixon’s outlook on the event? “My hope for 2020 is that we do something big and extravagant,” he said. “Our next fair will hopefully include new cultural acts from various parts of the nation, including other states like Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.”

Paul also shares his hopes for the next International Fair. “I hope they will continue to focus on and celebrate diversity, in addition to including more cultural programs for all visitors to experience firsthand,” he said. “I hope more students and faculty from different regions of America could reach out to help us instead of this fair just being planned by people on campus.”