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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

'Retro Renaissance' I-Fair Brings Community Together in Cultural Celebration

A vibrant celebration of cultural diversity and global exchange was showcased during the 2024 Knox College International Fair. This year’s fair, titled “Retro Renaissance,” invited attendees to embark on a journey through the past, embracing cultural traditions.

Knox and Galesburg community members engaged in a spectacle of music, dance, cuisine, and art from many corners of the globe on Saturday, February 3. 

“It was a wonderful opportunity for our students to share their culture with our campus. Not just share it, but celebrate it. It was great to see the campus so warmly receive the event and I’m very proud,” Director of International Student Services Alex Pia said. 

Over a dozen displays were available for attendees to interact with during the International Booth Fair, followed by 35 represented countries in the annual flag parade held in Kresge Recital Hall. The parade culminated with Knox College President C. Andrew McGadney carrying the College’s flag down the aisle, before joining the stage and waving the flag in unison with the others.

“It’s been great going around to all of the booths and tasting the snacks and seeing what they have on display,” Jaylen Carwell ’27, attending his first I-Fair celebration, said. "Being Hispanic myself, it’s nice to feel represented.”

“We have lots of students come in who are excited to learn about German culture. Family history, maybe they learned some in high school and wanted to learn more. This is a great place to highlight that,” Professor in Modern Languages German and Chair of International Studies Todd Heidt said. “And of course, the food is always a highlight. Indian food, Thai food, I’ll travel for food.”

The cultural showcase featured retro-inspired student performances displaying various cultural dance forms, music, attire, and even a love-story medley set to the music of Bollywood classics. Kresge was at full capacity as the community cheered along to the choreography and inspired music selections.

“I’m really excited to be a part of the cultural showcase. I’ve been practicing all week for it,” Duy Vo ’26 said. “As an international student, this is special to me. I wasn’t expecting this much of an international presence when I came here and I immediately wanted to be a part of it.” 

The day concluded at the International Food Fair in the Hard Knox Café, where a buffet of dishes prepared by students such as mango lassi, speena ghwahka, Asian-style ice cream, and more were available for the campus to enjoy.

International Club Co-President Archi Nokrek ’24 felt emotional as the event came to a close, as this year’s event was her third and final I-Fair to organize as an executive member. She expressed gratitude to all members of the International Club and Knox community for helping make this event so successful.

“It’s bittersweet knowing that this is the last I-Fair I will host, but I’m nothing but grateful for the opportunity to host this wonderful event three years in a row, and I’ve always been so lucky to have the best people do it with me,” Nokrek said. “I am sad that it’s over this year, but I know for certain that this event will continue to flourish and grow.”

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Printed on Wednesday, June 12, 2024