Festival brings taste of culture
HUNTINGTON -- A trip around the world was only a short drive away Saturday night during the 49th annual Marshall University International Festival at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
This year marked the first that the festival took place off of campus due to the event's steady growth said Clark Egnor, executive director for International Programs at Marshall.
International restaurants and cultural organizations represented more than two dozen countries at the event, where guests could sample cuisine, music and dancing from around the world under one roof.
"The event gives the local community an idea of just how internationally diverse Huntington is," he said. "I hope people who come here get to try new things and meet new people from other cultures that they have never experienced before. The experience helps broaden us as human beings, and it helps us have a better understanding of our world."
The event was sponsored by Foodfair Supermarkets, and organizers partnered with Cabell County Schools and Mountwest Community and Technical College to provide food demonstrations and samples for the thousands of people who attended the event, like Beth and Beau Smith of Ceredo.
The Smiths attend church with the Marshall Community Fellowship, and they are a host family to a group of students from South Korea.
Even with that experience, Beau Smith said he was pleasantly surprised when he arrived at the festival.
"I had no idea that, in Huntington, we had this much cultural diversity, and, honestly, I'm happy to see that," he said. "What I like is that this event will let a lot of people experience other cultures for the first time in a way that is welcoming. I think it's great."