Fredericton gathered on Saturday night making the world seem just a little smaller for those away from home with exotic food, beautiful dresses and lots of talent.
Over 350 people enjoyed the magic of diversity and multiculturalism at the annual festival of traditions, customs and colours organized by the St. Thomas University International Students Association.
President of the association, Sergio Guerrero, said he and his team put the event together this year with one objective: to bring it back home.
“I decided to bring the event home because I thought it was appropriate to have an event organized by STU students on our campus, and to try to bring the event closer to our students,” Guerrero said.
This year the event was hosted by STUSU’s presidential candidate, Santiago Chavez, and radio personality, Jonathan Munn— who made the crowd laugh by trying to imitate some performances during the night.
The “awesome crowd,” as the MC’s called the public several times throughout the show, was cheerful and energetic during the colourful fashion show, which represented over nine different countries.
Anu Thomas, a STU alumni, said this was her sixth year participating in the fair. She was part of the STUISA executive board during her first year of university and since then she has participated in the organization of the event.
This time, Thomas wore a traditional aqua coloured Indian dress during the fashion show.
“Now looking back I see how much richness and value that we add into the culture coming from all over the world and bringing our little parts of where we come from to Fredericton,” Thomas said.
“I really think that our diversity adds to the value of the St. Thomas University education and outreach.”
The talent show included 15 performances representing over 10 countries, including China, Japan, Indonesia and Spain.
The crowd was left agape by performances like “the robot dance” by David Annan from Ghana, the singing presentation by the talented 11-year-old Israeli Michelle Buyko, and a mix of contemporary dance and rhythmic gymnastics by Natalí Ortiz from Ecuador.
First year St. Thomas student, Kieutri Aulia Intiar, performed a mosaic of five Indonesian songs to continue with the tradition that her older sister and STU alumni started some years before at the fair.
“My family has always been a musical family,” Intiar said.
Intiar said she was inspired by her father, who’s a diplomat in Toronto, and this year she wanted to represent Indonesia at her own scale.
Participants from all ages were able to enjoy 32 different dishes at the international food fest, which included traditional appetizers, entrées and desserts from over 20 countries.
“I am so glad that it turned out this way because we expanded everything,” Guerrero said.
The public was able to appreciate and buy international items at the country booths, which offered glitter and henna tattoos, traditional clothing and artisanal crafts from countries in Latin America and Asia.
The money raised by the event will go to the STUISA fund to subsidize social and cross-cultural activities for international students at St. Thomas.