Around the world in two days

Rocky Gao, Staff Writer

Engulfed by different cuisines, performances and games coming from a plethora of cultures, Northwood students appreciated the unique roots of Irvine residents during the Irvine Global Village Festival on Oct. 12-13 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Orange County Great Park.

The festival turned Great Park into a center of cultural exchange to celebrate its 18th anniversary, as students came both to volunteer and to get a taste of Irvine’s diversity through the various booths that represented over 50 different cultures And unlike previous years, there was an extra day of festivities for people to enjoy.

“My favorite thing about this was the people because they’re very welcoming,” senior Sarah Khan said, referring to her fellow volunteers at the bubble zone station.

Appearing a few feet down from the bubble zone was the petting zoo, which featured an alpaca alongside several goats, rabbits and sheep.

When passing the entertainment booths, students were greeted by a collection of canopies and trucks presenting foreign dishes. Delicacies included a smokey tray of South Korean B.B.Q. squid and crispy Indian street food samosas, served with creamy green chutney.

“It’s pretty interesting seeing all the cultural differences that exist within Irvine,” senior Christian Shin said. “I got Pocky from a Japanese club.”

A variety of different languages were tangled with the music from the Irvine Auto Center Stage, as The Caribbean Jems performed their Caribbean and African dance
Below the stage, children and parents tottered beneath a limbo bar as dancers cheered them on.

The goal of the festival has always been to close gaps between the intercultural atmosphere of Irvine. In 1988, a multicultural gathering was introduced to the residents of Irvine. It was officially named the Irvine Global Village Festival in 2002, and has been encouraging Irvine residents to appreciate the different traditions and customs that make up their city ever since. Backed by sponsors such as the Irvine Auto Center, the festival has been making a name for itself, helping Irvine earn the Cultural Diversity Award from the National League of Cities in 2012.

A survey is currently gathering public praise and criticism on the festival. On the City of Irvine website, participants can help improve the next Irvine Global Village Festival.

Northwood has its own plethora of cultural clubs to participate for those who want to continue celebrating and sharing their culture.