MISSOULA – The 26th University of Montana International Festival will return to campus on Sunday, April 8.
UM’s Global Engagement Office and International Student Association invite the UM and Missoula communities to join in a global and multicultural celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the University Center. This year the festival will offer free admission for UM students with a Griz Card. General admission costs $2 per person and $5 per family.
“If previous attendance figures are any indicator, this year’s festival should see attendance in the thousands,” said Mona Mondava, the festival director. “We are proud to say this is the second-largest festival at UM.”
The International Festival aims to promote internationalism, multiculturalism and intercultural awareness and appreciation among residents of Montana. Similar to past festivals, there will be a global array of attractions, music, games and food. There will be an International Culture Show, a Global Pavilion area highlighting ethnic cultural diversity, an interactive Children’s World Event, an Atrium International Fiesta and a silent auction of international arts and crafts.
The Montana International Children’s Festival will host a free film festival, screening short international films for children and families. The UC Game Room will grant free entrance to all festival attendees.
The International Culture Show will feature an Australian didgeridoo player, an Indian tabula and harmonium ensemble, and Chinese and Papuan songs. There will be performances by UM’s Pacific Islanders Club, a Cameroon student dancer, a UM percussion group, Native American dancers from St. Ignatius School, a Balinese music group and Missoula’s Downtown Dance Collective. UM’s Russian Club, the UM German Club and Sons of Norway also will participate.
The Children’s World Event will give children the chance to decorate Polish eggs, act out international stories with dolls, make Chinese dragons and learn the art of creating Indian rangoli art designs with colored rice. They also can create western heritage crafts, listen to the music of an Australian didgeridoo and participate in activities presented by international refugee children hosted by International Rescue Committee.
New this year, the festival will host an assortment of ethnic food trucks from around Missoula.
“This is a change from the student-operated food booths of past festivals, but we hope this will be an exciting gastronomic alternative,” Mondava said. “Every world traveler knows the key to experiencing culture and diversity is often through culinary experiences. That is why we are excited about our attendees exploring delicious cuisine from around the world.”
The International Festival is a nonprofit event sponsored by UM and produced by UM’s Global Engagement Office and UM’s International Student Association, with major sponsors that include the UM administration, the University Center, UM Dining, UM Global Leadership Initiative, Associated Students of UM and the Montana Children’s Film Festival.