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The Blue & Gray Press | December 12, 2018

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Multicultural Fair Brings Community Diversity

By COLLEEN HUBER

The Multicultural Fair will return to the University of Mary Washington for its twenty-second year on April 14.

The goal of the fair is to bring together communities and enhance people’s understanding of other cultures, according to Greta Franklin, associate director of the Multicultural Center.

“It is a day where we bring the Fredericksburg community and other communities to Mary Washington,” said Franklin.

The fair is held to show UMW’s place in the community.

“The best part about the Multicultural Fair is that it brings the whole Fredericksburg community together; Campus Walk is so lively,” said senior psychology major Aradhika Shrestha.

Additionally, Franklin said that the fair is also very child friendly, which adds to the community feel.

“What the community members really like about the fair is that they can bring their children and still be able to really enjoy themselves,” said Franklin.

There will be a children’s area next to Virginia Hall where students and various organizations hold activities geared towards children.

“It is a fun-filled event for people of all ages to attend,” said junior business administration major Manisha Kumar.

Throughout the day, there will be multicultural performers in various areas of the fair. Unlike last year, Franklin said that the main stage will be in front of George Washington Hall, with other stages in front of Monroe Hall and Lee Hall.

“By spacing out the stages, the traffic of the fair will flow more smoothly,” said Franklin.

According to Franklin, there will be a variety of local and regional bands and dancing groups throughout the day at the different stages. Among the many performers will be Levi Stephens, from Washington D.C., and the Lizzy Ross Band from Chapel Hill, N.C.

Also, many of UMW’s students will be involved in the performances during the day. One of the groups calls themselves Rangeela, meaning “colorful,” and have been performing in various cultural events on campus, said Shrestha.

“We do Bollywood dancing and Bollywood is the Indian film industry just like Hollywood with musical dance performances thrown in here and there,” said Shrestha.

Another group of UMW performers is Eagle Bhangra, who will perform a North Indian Folk dance, according to Kumar.

“I believe this event encourages our campus community to embrace the diversity we have here,” said Kumar.

Along Campus Walk, there will be vendors who sell a mixture of multiethnic crafts, according to Franklin.

In Ball Circle, Franklin said that there would be several food vendors who participate and sell various ethnic foods from Americana, Greek and Mediterranean, Thai, Indian and Vietnamese.

“I love that this day allows our campus to show off the diversity that we have through forms of entertainment, fashion, crafts, food and more,” said Kumar.

According to Franklin, student turnout has increased over the years.

“A lot of students participate by volunteering or performing; we are always looking for volunteers,” said Franklin.

Shrestha is excited for what this year’s fair can bring.

“I personally love performing and also enjoy watching performances by other talented performers,” said Shrestha.

Although some revenue is generated from the registration fee required of the vendors, Franklin said that all the money goes back into the preparation for the day.

“It is mainly just to have a great event for the community and students,” said Franklin.

The fair, a day-long event, will begin at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m.