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World Fest '08 brings many cultures to campus

By Kimberly Primicerio
On November 17, 2008

  • Dancers perform to authentic music at World Fest '08 as cultural entertainent. ashley popsil

All four corners of the world were brought together Saturday afternoon at UConn's World Fest 2008 celebration.

The Student Union Ballroom was filled with booths representing specific countries. Each table had its own giant poster board with the country's name scrolled across it, along with pictures, fun facts and flags.

The Portugal booth was neatly decorated with a festive tablecloth and red and green streamers. Portuguese dictionaries were on display along with travel pamphlets on the country. Patrons could purchase beverages or candy from this booth while other countries had different trinkets for sale. Pins, decorative pieces, and other treats could be bought at different booths.

Laurie Tompkins, the program assistant and event planner for International Services and Programs, said the cultural groups earn money by selling their homemade crafts or candy.

"Funds are really tight for the departments to sponsor the clubs," Tompkins said. "Every dollar earned for the club helps."

Along with the knowledge gained from each table, one could also taste the authentic food distributed by UConn Catering. Stations of food were set up on tables all along the ballroom. Two or three students who work for University Catering were dressed in their tuxedo shirts ready to serve those willing to try some tasty delicacies. Tickets were purchased outside of the ballroom (with flex passes or cash) that were then handed to servers in exchange for the food.

Polish, Haitian, Middle Eastern, Asia, African, Portuguese and foods were available to taste.

"People stick to what they know," said 3rd-semester chemical engineering and material science major, Jennifer Corcoran, who is also the student manager of UConn Catering. "The most popular foods are things people are familiar with, like apple crisp."

At around 3:30 p.m., the Celtic American Cultural Society performed Irish step dancing. They were accompanied by live musicians who played the violin and concertina.

"It's like something out of a fairy movie," said Marie Conde, a 1st-semester economics major.

"I really like the dancing," noted Gabrielle Reynolds, a 1st-semester political science and Spanish double major. Reynolds was looking forward to eating some of the diverse food, especially the African specialties. She had also visited the China booth where she got her name smeared in black paint on a sheet of white paper in Chinese symbols.

Other performances at the event were put on by UConn Taiko, the Nepali Student Association, African Student Association, Vande Matra and many more.

Tompkins said the event has been going on for more than 20 years.

"We started planning four months ago," Tompkins said. "I applaud all the organizations who take the time to participate in the event in addition to keeping up with their studies and exams."

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