The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

International festival to showcase highlights of foreign cultures

Traveling to foreign countries requires a few important items. But none is more important than knowing a little about the specific country.

Members of the university community will have an opportunity to obtain this knowledge at their convenience.

Students, faculty, staff and community members can pick up their passports on Sunday and use the exhibits in Davies Center to travel vicariously around the world.

The International Folk Fair, being held from noon to 4 p.m. on the second floor of Davies Center, will include representation from more than 30 countries.

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Community members, student organizations and international students have created displays to represent different countries through clothing, arts and crafts, food and music.

“The purpose of this is to educate the community about other cultures and nationalities,” said Fay Bobb, program assistant in the center for international education.

Visitors can pick up their passports at the door and representatives from each country will stamp them as people visit the displays.

For every seven stamps visitors receive, they will receive a ticket for a drawing of prizes donated by local businesses.

Each stop will have educational opportunities such as information about the country’s history, geography and language, Bobb said. Most countries also will have ethnic food for sale.

Bobb said free entertainment will be available for most of the day.

The Tamarack Room of Davies Center will be the site for much of the entertainment.

From 12:20 to 1 p.m., travelers can see Latino music and dance, Russian songs and Bulgarian folk music performed.

From 1 to 1:45 p.m. the Saharan Nights, a classical Arabic band from the Twin Cities will be playing. From 2:40 to 3 p.m. there will be a man teaching Comorian Dance (from the Comoro Islands) to children. The Tamarack room also will be the host of African dancing from 3:05 to 3:30 p.m.

In the Skylight Room at 2 p.m. the Norwegian song and dance group, Norska Folka, will be performing.

After more than 30 years of successful international folk fairs, Bobb said she is hoping for 1,500 to 2,000 attendees this year.

Eugeny Dobrovolsky, a foreign exchange student from Russia, is looking forward to attending the event.

“It’s a great chance to see different cultures, to try food, and learn more about the countries,” he said.

Bobb said that with the global events since the Sept 11 attacks, the folk fair is a good way to learn the truths about other parts of the world.

“It’s always been important,” Bobb said.

“But this year it is even more important that people learn more about each other and respect each other’s cultures.”

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