Annual international festival promises family fun and promotes cross cultural understanding

Staff report

The Ohio State University at Marion welcomes the campus and community to a series of cultural presentations from students, faculty, and staff as part of International Festival Week, culminating with the 9th Taste of Culture International Festival, Thursday, April 7, 4:30-8 p.m. in the Alber Student Center.

A Taste of Culture plays host to a multitude of informational booths, live entertainment, food from around the world, henna art tattoos, arts and crafts, and cultural presentations. Bringing together the customs, traditions, color, and flavor of people from diverse ethnicities highlights what organizers feel makes the event successful each year. Admission for this annual event is free and open to the public. Launched in 2008, 500-700 area residents attend this Ohio State Marion event each year.

Local vendors, restaurateurs, and community members provide samplings of food representative of ethnic cuisines from across the globe. Donations are encouraged for purchase of food tickets to sample the food on hand. Proceeds from donations for food and beverage items benefit minority scholarships at Ohio State Marion.

According to Ohio State Marion Director of Student Life, Diversity & Inclusion, Shawn Jackson, for the festival to build a 9 year history speaks to the support it receives from the community not only in terms of those who attend the festival and presentations during the week, but all those who volunteer their time and effort to the event every year.

“We’ve been pretty steady in terms of attendance, between 600 to 800 hundred people,” said Jackson. “Each year we have had growth and have been very happy about that. The community has been very supportive of our event. It is wonderful to see everyone interacting and embracing so many different cultures.”

“The participatory nature of the event is terrific, with community members volunteering to help at the event or share in their experiences. It’s a fun event for the Marion area,” added Jackson.

One slight change during international festival week, explained Jackson, is an expanded emphasis on highlighting the diversity of our student body.

International Festival Week presentations

In addition to the International Festival, the campus will host a series of cultural presentations

Life in the Middle East – Monday, March 28th

Join Ohio State Marion Web Communication Specialist Christian Peregrina, Monday, March 28, 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Morrill Hall, Room 200. Peregrina will discuss “Life in the Middle East” as a young expatriate. He will discuss culture, education, and much more. A taste of Middle Eastern food will be provided.

From Russia to America – Thursday, March 31st

Ohio State Marion freshman Anri Mikiertichev grew up in Moscow, Russian and moved to Cleveland, Ohio at the age of 14. Join Mikiertichev on Thursday, March 31, 12:30-1:30 p.m., in Morrill Hall, Room 160, as he shares his story of moving to America from Russia and the cultural differences he’s experienced. A taste of Russian food will be provided.

Muslim Student Panel – Monday, April 4th

The Muslim Student Group and the Arabic Club will discuss what it is like being a Muslim in America and on the Marion campus. The student panel will be held on Monday, April 4, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m., in Morrill Hall, Room 200. A taste of Middle Eastern food will be provided.

Spanish Karaoke Competition – Monday, April 4th

Spanish language students and area high school students will participate in this unique karaoke competition on Monday, April, 4th from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Alber Student Center on the Marion campus. Food will be provided.

French Culture – Wednesday, April 6th

The French Club and student who have traveled abroad with the French Club will make a presentation on their overseas experiences on Wednesday, April 6, 12:30-1:30 pm. in Morrill Hall, Room 200. A taste of French food will be provided.

For more information or to get involved with A Taste of Culture or International Festival Week, contact Shawn Jackson in The Ohio State University at Marion Office of Student Life at 740-725-6219 or email


Staff report