Festival offers taste of world

The opportunity to travel around the world and view other cultures, all while staying in Lexington, does not come around often.

Students, faculty and staff, however, can do just that by attending events in this year’s Cultural Diversity Festival throughout March.

Events in the celebration focus on educating people about different cultures through a talent show, performances, food and a machine that gives viewers the chance to visualize themselves as a different race.

The Human Race Machine is an aspect of the celebration, with the mission to “promote cultural awareness,” according to the festival’s website.

Though some events begin at the end of February and continue into April, the festival will officially begin with Taste of Our World on March 2, which will feature foods from every continent and performances from different student groups.

“The day itself is the kickoff for the whole festival in general,” Debra Ross, a co-chair of the festival, said. “It will involve food from around the world (and) entertainment.”

Items from Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade vendor, will be for sale and will include  jewelry and home decor. There also will be a silent auction, and proceeds go to the President’s Scholarship Initiative.

Other events in the festival are sponsored by various student groups.

The festival does not specifically focus on one culture, Ross said.

One of the festival’s goals is to have as much campus involvement as possible and to educate people about diversity, Ross said.

“It’s really more than just diversity. Its really more of just trying to be inclusive and understanding of all people,” Ross said.

Michael Haag, a senior who is on the committee, said he wants to “include everyone and make sure that everyone feels welcome.”

Haag said students will benefit from learning about different cultures and areas of the world, and that it will help broaden students’ horizons.

“I think a lot of times we stay in our own pockets of comfort,” Ross said. “So I think its good to have events where everyone can get together and be comfortable with each other (and) learn about other things.

“It is just an opportunity to collaborate, try to be more inclusive of people, age, race, ethnicity — everything.”

Ross said to look for buttons with the festival logo around campus and at events.

Taste of Our World is March 2 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Center Grand Ballroom. Food tickets are $1 each and long-sleeve T-shirts will be given to the first 150 students in attendance, Ross said.

Haag encourages people to visit the festival website for more information because they are constantly working on keeping the events up-to-date.

Event information can be found at http://www.uky.edu/DiversityFestival/index.html.