By Kim Fraser
On April 7 at 11 a.m. SCAD launched its 14th Annual International Festival with a culturally diverse spread of foods, drinks and novelty items lined along Broughton Street between Lincoln and Abercorn. There were 27 booths, operated by students and local restaurants, each representing student organizations and different countries.
“This is really neat because you get to see all the different cultures and you learn about what each country is and maybe some of their food”, said Louie Gruver, a local Savannahian, “Because sometimes you really don’t know about [the countries] and this is a good place to do it.”
Flags of different nationalities fluttered above people’s heads as they moved through a friendly and eclectic mix of people, cuisines and music that resonated with good vibes and positive energy.
“When we have weather as great as we had,” said Jeffrey Jones, director of International Student Services, “its hard not to have record crowds and turnouts.”
Walking towards the stage, children and adults alike had snow cones sold from the Caribbean Student Association booth. Ruan Thai Cuisine sold fried bananas, noodles, rice and flavored mixed vegetables. An Indian booth created intricate henna tattoo designs on women’s hands. Authentic cultural customs were seen among the crowds and the dance floor.
Mystik NRG, a reggae and calypso group from Orlando, was the highlighted band of the festival as genre classics and their own mix of songs reverberated through the air, the crowd dancing and singing along with lead vocalist Creig Camacho.
“The crowd, the crowd is the best. It’s always a real party crowd,” said Camacho. “’Shake It Up,’ it’s a song we do every time we come here because the crowds looks forward to that song and we have a little dance contest.”
People chanted as four students came on stage and shook to the beats of Mystik NRG. Charissa Harris, interior design major from Trinidad and Michael “Mikey” Bond, game development major from Las Vegas, became the finalists. Harris and Bond shimmied to win the final prize as the crowd cheered them on. The competition ended in a tie between the two students.
“I’ve always loved to dance,” said Bond, “And recently I’ve become a part of SCAD’s Belly Dance Club and there I’ve learnt to shimmy a lot better.”
Mystik NRG brought the festival to an end as the booths packed up after a successful day. They are already planning how to make next year’s festival bigger and better.
“We’ve thought of a number of ideas for next year, one is to officially extend it to 4pm. Mystik NRG could have easily played until then, so to be honest this really is an event needing to last 5 hours in length,” said Jones. “We also may consider for next year rolling the large tables out of the front main performance area to make more room for dancing once Mystik NRG comes on stage!”
The 15th International Festival will be held on April 6, 2013.Contact Kim Fraser.