International Street Fair-Goers Share Food and Culture

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Hundreds of people from across the globe gathered Saturday at the annual International Street Fair, the final gathering of International Week at Ohio University. The fair kicked off with a parade down Court St., as natives waved their countries’ flags. Vendors, selling and giving away international foods, lined E. Union St., eager to talk about their culture and share their cuisine.

Live music for the street fair participants

Mohammad Satami, an Iranian student at Ohio University, said he enjoyed talking to people about his Iranian culture and believed this year’s street fair was effective way to do that.

“I think people are excited for this event; people are curious; they want to learn about other cultures,” he said. “They are trying to imitate good behavior from different kinds of people, and it’s great to get good behavior from each other.”

Satami and his friends set up a booth that included Iranian literature, games, and free food.

What made this year different 

The International Street Fair is normally scheduled for the second weekend in April. This year; however, it was moved up a week to coincide with Mom’s Weekend. As a result, the crowd was noticeably larger than previous years.

Carla Triana, President of the International Student Union, said they deliberately scheduled the event a week early knowing it would attract more people.

Vendors setting up before the fair started

“It may be a different, new experience for a lot of people, and that’s what we want,” Triana said. “We want to spread cultural awareness and diversity, to bring the world to Athens, and what better way to do that than with the international students and the organizations they have.”

Triana said community support for international students is vital, particularly as more of them face deportation in an increasingly tense climate.

She said some of these students have experienced racism and discrimination. But she said they look past the negative comments and strive for what they believe in: teaching others about their culture.

“Our international  students are a strong group of individuals,” she said. “They are very loving, welcoming, and honestly all they want to do is share their culture with the rest of OU and the Athens community.”