February 09, 2004

International Festival opens Feb. 17

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Cultural diversity takes center stage next week during Southern Illinois University Carbondale's annual International Festival.

A tradition on campus for more than 30 years, the festival kicks off on Tuesday, Feb. 17, and continues through Friday, Feb. 20. The international food fair is always a highlight; more than 1,000 people sampled cuisine from faraway lands last year.

A special treat this year is a performance by Step Afrika! in conjunction with both the International Festival and Black History Month. Founded in late 1996, the company highlights the African-American fraternity and sorority art form of stepping and its link to traditional South African dance. Step Afrika! is a leader in arts education, specializing in the history, development and performance of stepping. Included in the repertoire are stepping, tap, South African dances including Zulu and Gumbot, clogging, hip-hop, house and freestyle dancing.

Enhancing the diversity of the campus is among the goals of Southern at 150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

All activities take place in the Student Center and are free unless otherwise noted. Here's the schedule:


Tuesday, Feb. 17


  • Opening proclamation, 5:30 p.m., Gallery Lounge. Dignitaries from the University and city of Carbondale will issue proclamations in honor of the International Festival.


  • International Programs and Scholars reception, 6 p.m., Gallery Lounge.


  • Step Afrika!, 7 p.m., Ballrooms C and D. Admission is free; no cameras or videotaping during the performance.


Wednesday, Feb. 18


  • International exhibits, 10 a.m.-noon, International Lounge. Fifteen international student organizations display cultural artifacts and demonstrate dances and entertainment from their native lands.


  • International food fair, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Student Center ballrooms. International students, under the supervision of Student Center dining services, prepare all of the food. Many of the dishes have different prices, and 50 cent food tickets are available at the door.


  • International film, "Pinocchio" (Italian), 7 p.m., Student Center Auditorium. Admission is free.


Thursday, Feb. 19


  • The Old Main restaurant's buffet features Chinese cuisine, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


Friday, Feb. 20


  • International buffet, 5-7 p.m., Renaissance Room. Advance tickets, available at the Student Center ticket office, are $9.25 for students and seniors and $10.25 for the general public. The cost at the door is $10.50 for students and seniors, $11.50 general public.


  • International cultural show, 7-9 p.m., Ballrooms C and D. Fifteen different variety acts will include martial arts, dances, choral groups, fashion shows and more.