Nov 172002
Authors: Willow Welter

A flamboyant Chinese dragon danced across the Plaza on Saturday to commence The World Unity Fair.

A thunderous drum beat and clashing of cymbals created the rhythm for the traditional Chinese Dragon Dance, performed by Boulder’s Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu group.

About 150 people gathered on the Plaza to see the event, which began around 3 p.m. The giant papier-mache dragon balanced on poles held high by over 30 performers, producing a lively procession. Other participants in the dance waved yellow, blue, green and red flags through the air.

Shawna Barr-Magtutu, program coordinator from the Office of International Programs, and Keri DeJong, a senior human development and family studies major, coordinated the World Unity Fair to celebrate International Fest, a series of events occurring from Nov. 6 to 22.

Barr-Magtutu said the World Unity Fair aimed to not only educate people about other cultures, but also to just provide fun and entertainment.

“We do more formal, educational events,” explained Barr-Magtutu, clad in an ethnic dress from Africa. “But this is just a celebration of cultures around the world.”

DeJong, wearing a Punjabi dress from India, coordinated the Youth World Tour segment of the World Unity Fair, a multi-cultural exploration focused on children. This segment of the fair lasted from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., and expanded through the entire Lory Student Center Ballroom where 19 different organizations erected booths that hosted games, activities and information about specific countries.

At least 500 children, parents and curious students strolled from booth to booth, participating in the country’s activity and getting their makeshift “passports” stamped. A few of the groups hosting activities at the Youth World Tour included the Argentinean Student Association, the Japanese Student Association, International Students, Inc., and several others.

“I think my favorite (booth) was the Japanese ring toss,” explained 12-year-old Hana Shatila, who said she came to the fair to see an Islamic singer, Mustageim, perform. “I always come every year to learn about the different cultures and places.”

Her friend, 10-year-old Razan Kalaaji, agreed that the Japanese ring toss booth was her favorite as well.

“I come every year, and I wanted to hear Mustageim sing,” Kalaaji explained.

Both girls won prizes at the Japanese booth. Other children participated in face painting, which a few booths offered, including the Korean Student Association’s display.

Meanwhile, performers from various cultures and talents took the stage in the middle of the ballroom. Singers, magicians, dancers and choirs demonstrated their cultural talents to hundreds of spectators.

The Youth World Tour ended with the Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu group performing Kung Fu martial arts. The performers, ranging from elementary school children to experienced martial artists, drew gasps from the crowd with their demonstrations.

After the Youth World Tour, the festivities of World Unity Fair adopted a more adult focus, beginning with a dinner of international foods, displays of artifacts and more entertainment. Barr-Magtutu noted that some of the organizations had been cooking their dishes since the night before.

After hundreds of people had an opportunity to taste international foods from assorted cultures, a world talent show ensued in the LSC Theater.

Dancers included the African Student Association’s dance group, Filipiniana Dance Troupe, Indonesian dancing and Korean folk dancing, among many others. The Chinese Students and Scholars Association also performed Tai Chi, a type of martial arts combining yoga and meditation in a moving form.

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