For nearly four decades, UNC Charlotte has held the region’s largest, most culturally diverse festival. Now entering its 39th year, the annual International Festival provides a unique opportunity for attendees to experience the world in a day. With more than 50 nations represented, this colorful festival lets individuals engage in a vast array of activities including art, costumes, games, music, dance, and of course, food.
The 2014 UNC Charlotte International Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20, in the area around the Barnhardt Student Activity Center.
Since its inception in 1975, the University’s longest-running cultural event has served to celebrate the ever-expanding global landscape at the University and throughout the region.
“To me the festival is about people sharing their culture,” said Marian Beane, senior coordinator for international engagement at UNC Charlotte. “The celebration of the ethnic diversity we have at UNC Charlotte and in the Charlotte community is at the core of what the festival represents.”
Festival goers should plan to spend several hours, or the entire day, exploring the abundance of brightly colored cultural displays, interacting with the diverse mix of participants representing their countries and enjoying authentic cuisine from around the world.
In addition to the hallmark elements, this year’s festival will include live coverage via a live stream at livestream.uncc.edu starting at noon. The broadcast, spearheaded by the Office of University Communications, will feature live performances; interviews with participants, festival goers and performers; and pre-produced videos aimed at educating and highlighting specific cultures and their presence within the Charlotte community.
While displays and nations have varied throughout the years, the core purpose of the festival remains the same—bringing people together for the celebration of countries and cultures.
“Over time the international student population and ethnic community of Charlotte have grown adding to the rich fabric of the festival, and I think that’s a testament of the joy and pride people get just being a part of this festival,” Beane stated. “They appreciate the fact that the focus is on the people who are here and that have come to interact with other people and cultures from other parts of the world.”
Building on nearly four decades of success, the International Festival has grown to become an important tradition at UNC Charlotte, as well as one of Charlotte’s premiere cultural experiences. Today, the festival requires collaboration by many University units/departments as well as hundreds of student volunteers who all take pride in knowing the annual event continues to fulfill its original purpose of cultivating and growing the international experience at UNC Charlotte.