International Festival showcases Davis diversity

By Rana Eser,
HUB Staff Writer–

Thousands of people crowded around the Veterans Memorial Center Oct. 6, many in outlandish outfits full of personality. There was color and music everywhere. This was the scene at the second annual international festival, put on by the International House organization in Davis.

Adorned in a sparkly multi-layer headdress and a colorful silk dress to match, Faire Yang was easy to spot in the crowd.

Yang was an intern for one of the coordinators of the festival, Sandy Holman. Her outfit came from Southern China, and her family was from South East Asia, immigrating to America to escape the Vietnam War. Yang enjoyed spending her time at the festival talking about her culture and learning about others.

“I think it’s been a blast, it’s really fabulous. I’ve gone around all the tables in my free time and I’ve met so many people and I’ve been stopped a lot to take pictures and to be asked about my outfit,” Yang said.  “I think it’s great that there’s so much diversity, I think it’s a really beautiful thing.”

Some students from Davis High were also volunteers at the festival, like junior David Kim. “The whole festival is to increase international awareness, and to see the good parts of each country. And so what happens is all the countries come and they just show off about their country and it’s great,” Kim said.

Kim worked at the German booth which was set up by the high school German Club. “Me personally, I’m here because first of all, I get extra credit for my German class, and second of all, volunteering is just great fun when there’s nothing else to do.”

Each of the booths that lined the walls of the building provided a glimpse into a nation’s culture. The majority of the booths were located in the courtyard, as most of the indoor space was used for the performances during the six hour festival.

Although there were many dancing and singing performances during the festival, there were several other unique acts such as the Tai Chi Chuan demonstration, or the fashion show from around the world.

Along the sidewalk outside of the center there were a number of local vendors, offering hand-crafted clothes and jewelry, as well as a variety of international food.

According to the International House blog, the festival was estimated to have over 1,600 people attend. Jay Grossi, an Italian language professor at UC Davis who operated the Italian booth, had a chance to witness just how many curious souls were roaming the courtyard.

“I was very surprised, I did not think there was going to be this many people here, and I was really surprised to find how crowded it was. So I think it’s been a very big success.” Grossi said.

Margaret Hellwarth, a volunteer and co-chair at the international house, also viewed the festival as a success. According to Hellwarth, the event already seems quite developed and popular for being only the second time they’ve put it on, and their looking forward to making it even better.

“We’re really interested in displaying the diverse community that we have here in Davis,” Hellwarth said. ”If we all show each other our different cultures and the things that are wonderful about our different cultures and lives, we will all enjoy each other and learn from each other.”

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