All the world’s a stage: VCU’s Intercultural Festival


All the world’s a stage: VCU’s Intercultural Festival

Rainbow Bracey

Assistant Spectrum Editor

Eye-catching, brightly colored saris and traditional cultural costumes dotted the Monroe Park campus all morning–a sign of the unique day to come.

The weather cooperated Saturday and brought a bright warm day for the World Beat 2010 Intercultural Festival. A VCU tradition spanning more than a decade, the festival has become larger with each passing year.

Organized under an array of tents, the festival covered the expanse of the park. Six tents and two stages housed the main attractions.

Local merchants and artisans selling a range of products from hand crafted jewelry to organic soaps and lotions were on hand to educate festival-goers. This tent also housed henna tattoos, palm readers and chair massages. The long lines were testaments to the artists’ work, and remained long throughout the day.

The Community Village tent held booths set up for local associations and groups to inform the public on ways to clean and beautify Richmond. Dozens of international student organizations, among them the Latino, Vietnamese, Ethiopian and Bangladeshi student groups, were represented at the festival.

Not to be outdone, Rodney the Ram made his way through the crowd for pictures with curious youngsters and excited college students.

The festival’s family friendly environment and proved successful. The carnival attractions and petting zoo were a sure fire way to get the community to bring out their children. With three large moon bounces, face painting, balloon animals and snow cones, parents had a plethora of options to keep their children busy.

The two stages provided continuous entertainment displays from all over the world. The world dance came alive as Bollywood, African, Swing, Turkish, Saudi and Chinese Folk Dance displayed the diversity of students and interests. The stage also hosted Spanish rappers, Taiji demonstrations, a cultural fashion show and music to fit every taste. The various ethnicities represented at VCU were out in full force.

But what is a festival without food? Vendors from Elephant Thai, Ginger Asian Taste, Indian K’ Raj, Nile Restaurant and Little Mexico were among several others serving delectable dishes. Free meal tickets were available to the first 500 VCU students providing an earlier rush and a quick word of mouth advertisement.

The festival ran past its intended stop time; however, the crowds remained until the final act received thunderous applause and thanks were given to the sponsors.

The volunteers that manned every station were outstanding. They must be commended for their effort and enthusiasm and credited for making the festival an especially enjoyable experience. The Richmond and VCU community should have high hopes for many more years of dialogue, education and entertainment.

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