The 50th annual Marshall University International Festival is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. Admission to the festival is free and the event is open to the public. Food tickets will be available for purchase, allowing guests to sample a variety of dishes from all around the world.
“Last year, we had more than 4,000 people visit the festival, and it was one of the most exciting and well-attended international events in our region,” said Dr. Tammy Johnson, executive director of admissions and international student services. “We are looking forward to an even bigger crowd this year.”
Previously held on the Huntington campus until last year, by moving the festival to the larger location organizers were also able to invite area restaurants to join in the celebration. This year, the festival will feature 11 different food vendors. Each restaurant will offer tastings of signature menu items for guests to purchase.
In addition to the international foods, the festival will also feature music and dance from around the world, along with displays representing more than 60 countries and cultures provided by MU international students and the Tri-State international community.
“The International Festival is a perfect fit with Marshall’s efforts to increase international enrollment and involvement on campus,” Johnson said. “The festival provides a tremendous opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to interact with the Huntington community at large. It’s a wonderful event for everyone who attends.”
The students are the heart of the festival from hosting booths representing their home countries to entertaining the crowd with cultural music and dance, said Jyotsna Patel, who is with the Center for International Programs.
“Our students really enjoy and look forward to participating in the festival each year,” Johnson said. “They enjoy telling others about their home countries and their cultures. A lot of time and work is put into preparing for the event.”
Dr. Clark Egnor, director of international programs with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, said the festival “demonstrates that Marshall and the Huntington Tri-State community are welcoming to people from around the world.
“As we strive to prepare our citizens to live, work and compete in the global economy, Marshall’s International Festival serves as a great example for other universities and communities across West Virginia to follow,” Egnor said.
Participating restaurants at the festival include: Julian’s Market, Chateau D’Italia, Towers Market Place at Marshall University, Jug and Kilt, The Original Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse, Cedar Market, La Famiglia, El Rachito, Nawab Indian Cuisine, River & Rail Bakery and New China Garden Buffet.
Food tickets will be available for purchase at the festival or in advance at the Memorial Student Center on Friday, Nov. 8, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For further details about the annual International Festival, contact the Center for International Programs at ext.6-6265, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the International Festival website at http://www.marshall.edu/cip/festival/.
Photo: Scene from the 2012 International Festival at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, W.Va. Photo by Rick Haye/Marshall University.