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The Antelope

The Antelope

Food Festival brings cultures to Kearney from across oceans 

Lines of hungry visitors trailed outside of the Health and Sports Center gym doors at the 45th annual Scott D. Morris International Food Festival. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff

UNK opened the Health and Sports Center doors for the Scott D. Morris International Food Festival Sunday. During this event, Kearney students and community members tried various cuisines while international students performed pieces inspired by their countries. 

The Food Festival celebrates more than food. It focuses on the cultures of others outside of the United States. 

The lines trailed outside of the gym doors while people waited to experience various countries. Attendees sampled a variety of cuisines and compelling entertainment for free. 

The event was sponsored by the Scott D. Morris family, the Office of International Education, LoperNites funding and the support of Yousef Ghamedi. 

Jashna Samuel and Akira Yasue led the committee for the International Food Festival. “We expected around 1,200 to 1,500 people for the festival. I feel that it was a great turnout. I am grateful to all who attended the event,” Samuel said. 

When attendees arrived at the festival, they were given International Food Festival cookbooks with nine recipes. 

The gym was filled with enticing aromas and dishes from China, Columbia, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Oman, South Korea, Spain and Sudan.

Attendees were served buffet style by international students who shared a variety of samples from their home countries. 

“Something I would like to highlight about the festival is the fact that you get a taste of the food and culture of different countries, all at once in the heart of Kearney,” Samuel said. 

Some of the recipes for the dishes have been slightly altered. If ingredients or certain spices are unavailable across borders, it is difficult to make an exact replica. A traditional recipe might be slightly altered so that individuals can find ingredients that are similar enough within American supermarkets. Despite minor modifications, recipes like Nepalease Chicken Choila can still be made in America.  

Apart from the food, entertainment was provided. Various dances were performed. Two emcees took the stage to introduce each performance. 

Dancers wore outfits that were coordinated. The students who danced to Northern Asia (Hindi) music wore dresses that resembled clothing from Bollywood.

Another dance performance was inspired by Korean music, including “Gangnam Style.”. 

The International Student Association played a huge role in making this event a possibility with international students as the heart of the Food Festival. 

“I’d like to give a shoutout to all the students who put in hours and hours of preparation to make this event successful,”Samuel said. The international students contributed to the cooking, serving, performing and organizing the event. 

According to the International Student Association social media, the organization is “a forum where students get to experience and learn about different countries.” The organization celebrates diversity and increases awareness about various cultures for both international and local UNK students.

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