Spotlight: I-Fest: Celebrate One World, One Day

Spotlight: I-Fest: Celebrate One World, One Day

Date Published:
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

UNC Charlotte’s 36th annual International Festival (I-Fest), set for 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Saturday, Sept. 24, is a celebration of the diversity at the University and in the community. The culture of more than 50 nations will be displayed in a colorful, marketplace setting – opening up a one-day world of wonder for those who attend.

From its inception as a small event near the entrance to Atkins Library, I-Fest has blossomed into the University’s longest-running cultural event – enriching the lives of thousands.

Tamara Johnson, now a program assistant for the Office of International Programs, recalls attending the festival as a child shortly after her family moved to Charlotte.

“Never before had I encountered such an event,” Johnson said. “I was mesmerized by the vibrant silks of the white tents pitched around the base of the Belk Tower. I recall tasting the tangy goodness of dolmades for the first time and being surrounded by the energetic buzz of people asking and answering questions about other countries. For me, I-Fest began a love affair with the sights and sounds of far-away places – undoubtedly playing a role in the direction of my life, academic and career interests.”

The connections forged between the University and Charlotte’s diverse urban population will continue to increase in significance as more international residents and businesses come to the region.
Christina Sanchez
Office of International Programs

More and more of our students are venturing abroad to study, and our faculty members are receiving prestigious grants to conduct international research, while our academic departments are strengthening their global connections through curriculum development, said Christina Sanchez, associate director of the Office of International Programs, which organizes I-Fest.

“UNC Charlotte continues to attract more international students and esteemed scholars from across the globe,” Sanchez noted. “The connections forged between the University and Charlotte’s diverse urban population will continue to increase in significance as more international residents and businesses come to the region.”

I-Fest attendees can plan to spend time wandering through tents of brightly colored displays, conversing with participants representing their countries and cultures, tasting authentic cuisine from around the world and soaking up the atmosphere of song, dance
and story. The entertainment begins with the Loch Norman Pipe Band and continues with an African storyteller, Celtic folk band and the Trabucos
Latin Band.

Children can explore the world from inside the 22-foot-high Earth Balloon and document their travels throughout the day with the Passport Project.

The Arts & Science Council is cosponsoring the 36th annual UNC Charlotte International Festival. Admission and parking are free; I-Fest will be held rain or shine. Click here for more information.