International Folk Fair will bring color and diversity to Davies Student Center this weekend

Story by Jessie Tremmel, Op/Ed Editor

This weekend, UW-Eau Claire students and community members have the opportunity to attend an event that is compared to a “3,000 people wedding where no one gets married,” by Maria Carvalho, the Center for International Education adviser.

International Folk Fair, the most attended cultural event on campus, will return from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday in Davies Center. Eau Claire has hosted the event for more than 35 years but new this year is the addition of an event theme.

Zhen Wei Yap, the lead intern for International Folk Fair, said  the intern team chose fabrics, the theme for this year, as a way to help draw people into the event.

“Fabrics symbolize individuals with different backgrounds and heritage, but still, we are all part of Eau Claire,” Yap said. “We identify with different things: colors, patterns and textures. Although they highlight our individualism, we work to meld the fabrics together to represent the beautiful, diverse home that we call Eau Claire.”

One goal of the intern team this year is to draw students to the event. Yap said while community attendance in past years has been good, the on-campus awareness and attendance of the event was low.

Another new aspect of the event is the involvement of Visit Eau Claire. The Visit Eau Claire Fun Patrol will be at International Folk Fair, bringing along a photo booth and more opportunities to learn about the area.

Yap said many groups come to Eau Claire from other areas, and the event is a way to educate attendees about the commitment Eau Claire has made to diversity.

While at the event, people can snap some photos and tag them using #WeAreEauClaire on Twitter for the chance to win a prize. Yap said there will be a strong social media presence with a scavenger hunt and online trivia linked to a hashtag.

Ashley Duffy, the president of the Native American Student Association, said the student group has had a room at International Folk Fair for over 10 years.

Since the Native American Student Association didn’t know about the fabrics theme, they will be focusing on the pow wow. The Native American Student Association booth will feature posters depicting the dance styles, the history and the etiquette of the pow wow, and will also be selling Indian tacos as a fundraiser.

“We are able to educate people as well as break stereotypes, and fundraise for our upcoming events in November for Native American Heritage Month,” Duffy said.