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The Blue & Gray Press | August 17, 2019

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UMW celebrates 25th Multicultural Fair

UMW celebrates 25th Multicultural Fair


This year marked the 25th anniversary of one of the University of Mary Washington’s most beloved traditions, the Multicultural Fair. Sponsored by the James Farmer Multicultural Center, the fair’s mission is to enhance awareness through exposure to food, dance and entertainment from various cultures.

“It’s my favorite event all year. Different cultures coming together with performances and vendors,” said sophomore business administration and Spanish double major Jasmine Mann.

The Multicultural Fair generally attracts 4,000 to 5,000 people each year and stretches across campus, with food vendors overtaking Ball Circle and various stages placed up and down campus walk. Student organizations such as Eagle Bhangra and the UMW a cappella groups provided entertainment, among many others.

During the fair, students were able to experience Filipino, Afghani and traditional Bollywood dances, as well special performances for children, such as a show put on by the World Music to Marenje Marimba Ensemble.

Child activities were also provided, such as paper folding with the Asian Student Association, Braille crafts with DiversAbility, rainbow projects with PRISM and face painting provided by the Jewish Student Association/Hillel.

Though hosted on the UMW campus, the fair is a large draw for families and the larger Fredericksburg community.

“My little sister was so tired from all the excitement, she fell asleep on the fountain,” said junior political science major Kelsey Greenwood.

As always, the fair hosted a multitude of musical selections, with performances rotating throughout the day. Fairgoers could listen to anything from traditional German music to bluegrass, reggae or pop.

“I loved how all the music was different. There was a bit of something for everyone,” said freshman business administration major Georgia Bloomfield.

The smell of the food vendors wafted over campus, teasing fairgoers with traditional American food such as funnel cakes and corndogs, as well as delicious international offers like Lo Mein, gyros, chicken teriyaki and fried rice.

“I was fairly impressed with the food, [and] it all seemed pretty authentic and not just the American versions of those foods,” said sophomore business administration major Micah Goudy. “There was a wide variety of things to choose from.”

However, the true draw of the fair is the variety of vendors who set up tables along campus walk selling jewelry, clothing, books, soaps and more. Some vendors’ products were deeply rooted in culture, such as those of Les Todd, who was at the fair selling hand-made Guatemalan jewelry. According to Todd, a portion of all his sales go to supporting Guatemalan families.