Apr 022006
Authors: Emily Lance Rocky Mountain Collegian

Children played with elephants and ants in Asia. They observed a traditional Indonesian martial arts demonstration acted out with a knife and were given their own weaponry of choice crafted by their very own balloon artisan. An African storyteller brought to life the tale of a wicked spider for young listeners.

Dominic Benavidez, 4, tried to sit still as he ate his popcorn and waited in anticipation for the fun to begin.

Colors and cultures ran rampant as youth set foot into the LSC Main Ballroom Sunday afternoon. The 11th annual International Children’s Carnival sought to immerse children in a global encounter.

Viviane Ephrainson-Abt, a representative for Apartment Life, has been volunteering for the children’s carnival for seven years.

The carnival provides “a resource for non-traditional students and their families to showcase their work,” she said.

Many CSU non-traditional organizations were present to display their art and skills to visitors. The Hip Hop Culture Club amazed onlookers with a contemporary dance presentation, afterward giving the kids a chance to learn a few moves. Women from Africans United reenacted a traditional African dance.

In addition to CSU performers, the Westin Art Academy and youth from the Aggie Village and University Village showed off their musical skills to the afternoon audience. Traditional Chinese instruments, contemporary hip hop dances and Asian fan dances were among the performances.

Olivia Ciardella, a 10-year-old resident of Fort Collins, said she considered the fan dancers the best among the entertainers because “they were cool.”

Games and toys were constructed from numerous materials and then thrown about like beanbag balls and Frisbees.

A Korean toy called a jeegi was formed from a plastic bag, fringed on the edges, folded over a quarter and tied with a rubber band.

Dohyun Ahn, community coordinator for the Aggie Village, kicked jeegis when he was a child in Korea. Ahn taught children how to how to make their own and was excited to promote Korean culture among the many countries represented.

“Creativity comes from diversity,” Ahn said. “In the U.S. there is talent in one place to stimulate minds. It is difficult in Korea to get experience from different cultures.”

Down under in Australia, painters decorated cheeks with face painting and jugglers from North America taught the throwing technique.

Venice celebrated Mardis Gras with personalized masks, decorated by the wearer.

After traveling to six continents to get stamps for their passports and traveled through space, a prize awaited the children at the moon.

Heather Crandall, first-year graduate student studying natural resource recreation and tourism, and Kevin Gosselin, a freshman physics major, volunteered with other members of the Little Shop of Physics to bring small space experiments to the kids.

Participants looked back on the day with smiles.

Theresa Nardino, a Denver resident, thought her grandchildren received a beneficial exposure to culture from the International Carnival.

“Now they know more about Chinese culture than the restaurants,” Nardino said.

Fort Collins residents Tom and Theresa Ciardella agree.

“It is good for them to be exposed because they are home-schooled,” Theresa Ciardella said.

Tom added: “We have a lot of kids and it’s free.”

Emily Lance can be reached at campus@collegian.com.

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