MISSOULA – The University Center at the University of Montana will become a venue for global sights, sounds and aromas at the 23rd annual International Culture and Food Festival on Sunday, March 23. Close to 3,500 people from the community and campus are expected to participate in the festival, with the theme “Celebrating Global Gateway.”
The festival will feature a world food bazaar, international culture show, children’s world, ethnic cultural pavilions and a silent auction. A parade of flags will kick off the festival at noon, and all activities will run until 5 p.m. Admission costs $5 for the general public and $3 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling Foreign Student and Scholar Services at 406-243-2226.
The food bazaar in the UC Atrium will feature authentic dishes from regions around world. Food is priced from 50 cents to $4 and will include Indian tacos, Greek souvlaki, Hmong eggrolls, Turkish kebap, Filipino banana turon, Mexican tortas ahogadas, Swedish meatballs and Chinese tangyuan.
The five-hour, nonstop and lively international culture show will take place on the third floor of the UC in the Ballroom and will include traditional and contemporary performances such as the African fashion show, Pakistani dance, Chinese tea ceremony, belly dances and traditional Japanese fisherman’s dance.
Children’s world in the UC Commons on the second floor will present an imaginative children’s festival with 15 events featuring hands-on, fun intercultural activities. Children can participate in games, dances, storytelling, multi-ethnic crafts and origami, as well as meet people from different cultures. Kids will be issued “passports” and can earn “world citizen” status by completing activities. At the same time, the Montana International Children’s Film Festival will feature short, entertaining, thought-provoking and visually stunning films for children ages 4 to 8 in the UC Theater on the third floor.
Cultural pavilions in the UC Ballroom will present displays from individual countries and internationally focused local organizations, making the festival an inspiration for those hoping to make international connections here in Missoula. Displays will include colorful information about countries, a world-items market and information booths.
The Missoula International Friendship Program will have sign-up information for those interested in becoming a “community friend” to incoming UM international students.
The festival is sponsored by the UM International Student Association and Foreign Student and Scholar Services and is the kickoff for International Week which will take place March 23-28 at UM. Presentations and cultural events during international week are organized by the office of International Programs and are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of events, visit http://www.umt.edu/international-programs/ or call 406-243-2288.