A Day at the International Festival
By: Kyle Haynes
November 11th, 2017
Statesboro- On November the 11th the Statesboro community and Georgia Southern University’s office of International Program and Services hosted the 12th annual International Festival. The event occurred from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m and was hosted at Mill Creek Regional Park.
Angie Threatte the festival coordinator for Georgia Southern International Programs said that the event “is still very young and has time to continue to grow, it will only get bigger and better.”
The event was open to all members of the community, Southern Students and local citizens.
With the Festival only hoping to grow, on its 12th year the festival ventured out to grab the community rather than just wait.
On behalf of the Office of International Programs and Services, the form of transportation was accessed to those that wanted to attend the event. Volunteers and staff of the office were given rented Russell Union vans and tasked with driving back and forth from the event to the Russell Union.
Senior international student Blessings Odion, was one of the volunteers tasked with driving one of the vans. Hailing from Nigeria, which is Georgia Southern University’s largest partnership with in international students, Odion has attended the event three times and hopes to continue to support it.
On the way to event Mr.Odion showed just how diverse the event was to be. When the radio began to play and silence arose in the air, Blessing shouted “hey guys what we listening to, everyone gets a pick, we have to get pumped.”
The following moments were all but a cultural experience. As different genres of music rotated from hip hop, to Nigerian classics, to even hard rock.
Arriving at Mill Creek Reginal Park, cars a greeted by more volunteers to which are identified in their neon green shirts. After leaving the van and signed off by Odion, the sounds of the stage which is about 25 feet away echoes and travels through the parking lot.
The events where all open space but in a sense sectioned in the categories best related one of another. On one end you had the stage which was little over than 30x30 square feet. Towards the back was a relative food court which lined up around 8 independent vendors and had seating right next to the large white tent which hosted arts and crafts for sell. Lastly placed in the middle was the arts and craft center for children labeled “It’s a Small World.”
University Programing Board
President and senior student Juan Bernal
is a first time attender and stated that
he came because he felt it was only right
for him to share his Hispanic heritage
with the community.
The food he was referring to was 8
choices of cultural based cuisines which
covered Caribbean, Japanese, Indian,
Nigerian, Hispanic, American and even
With the recent closing of small
restaurants such Caribbean Feast which
was held on N.Main Street, many
restaurants and cooks like Caribbean
flavored Hot Spot took the scene. Many
of these cook sought the festival not
only as area to spread their culture
but also their business.
Hot Spot Co-Founder and Christian
Cantver, has been running his business
as side hustle. He stated that he just wanted to feed the community good food for a fair price.
“I make good food, cheap food, from Friday to Sunday you can call and get your meal delivered for fee if you are in Statesboro.”
While the time passed and areas became full and empty, the unit attributed to the kid’s arts and crafts seemed to never die down. Even around 3:30, the crafts were still being fully used, to paint and build different crafts of different respective cultures. One of the volunteers and hometown student, Tony Brown described why the crafts center “it’s a Small World” is so important for the even
The fact that we start teaching our community about diversity early will only help to open up their minds in the future. To the naked eye the world can seem like Statesboro, seem like there’s no difference but like everything good, it’s there you just have to find it.”
In 2016, the United States Census Bureau reported that the Statesboro population exceeded over 30,000. Many would argue on the regards of its ethnical background being diverse or not the fact lies in the numbers.
Statesboro ethnic backgrounds can be focused four major groups. Little over half being majority white, with black/ African Americans trailing at 40.8%, Asian and Hispanics far falling at 2% and others factoring at 2.8 %.
While numbers indeed are one of the closet variations of truth it can also be visually deceptive. The international Festival has become a domino. Its annual representation of diversity In the community only helps to spread and grow as it continues.
“I never thought about going but then I took a leap of faith, when I first arrived I watched a clogger performance and actually loved it, I can definitely say it was different and so was the food.” -Juan Bernal
Kyle Haynes, Senior Journalism Major at Georgia Southern University