Students and community members gathered on Court St. Saturday to celebrate the many different cultures represented at Ohio University during the annual International Street Fair.
The International Student Union collaborated with Athens City Officials to close down the street and exhibit food, music, and artwork from dozens of countries.
China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Oman, and Thailand were among the many cultures represented, and each set up booths to inform the community about their different traditions and customs.
To begin the event, International student representatives marched through the streets carrying flags representing over 100 countries from around the world.
Hashim Pashtun, President of the International Student Union led the march by screaming “Many nations, one family,” and Mayor Steve Patterson, along with OU President Roderick McDavis, both gave speeches in recognition of the event.
“Of 195 countries around the world, there’s 115 international students at OU… we all have differences and differences in cultures, but we must learn from each other, at the end of the day we’re all people,” said Patterson.
President McDavis ignited the crowd with passion and peace as the colored flags from around the world swayed together in the wind.
“We stand here today united as one. We are a demonstration of what happens when the world comes together in a peaceful way. We are an example of what this world can be when people reach out to one another, reach across the boundaries that separate us and try to bring people together,” said McDavis.
The flags were then set up along College Green, and people proceeded to wander Court street and took a glimpse at the traditions of many cultures.
The aroma of Arabic coffee and dates from Saudi Arabia, mixed with Sate and noodles, a traditional Indonesian dish, along with Chinese meatballs and tea were tasted by several of those among the crowds passing by.
Maps, pamphlets, artwork and literature were also passed out throughout the booths as a way to highlight the diversity and beauty among each culture.
“This was an incredible experience,” said freshman Political Science major Alex Cramer. “As an American student, I am so happy OU gave me this opportunity to come together and celebrate the many diverse cultures and customs that surround us on campus.”
The International Street Fair was one of the final events in a long chain of festivities celebrated during OU’s annual International week.