The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UMW students and community members celebrate 34th Annual Multicultural Fair with performances, food and art

3 min read
Three women wearing red, yellow, and orange dresses dancing while kicking their feet up.

The Multicultural fair showcases cultural performances, food and art. | Photo courtesy of Parker Michels-Boyce


Staff Writer

On Saturday, April 13, the Mary Washington community gathered on campus to celebrate the 34th annual Multicultural Fair. There, students and community members alike flooded Campus Walk to enjoy an array of cultures through food, performances and art. 

Last year, the Fair was moved inside the Cedric Rucker University Center due to rain. While this location did not stop the event from being successful, it did take away from the usual Fair experience during which attendees usually walk through campus to visit various cultural vendors, performers and food stands.

“The Multicultural Fair is important to the UMW community because it showcases and celebrates the diversity that is represented on campus, as well as the broader community,” said Marion Stanford, director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center. “It provides many different opportunities throughout the day to witness, experience and appreciate different cultural performances, international cuisine, and an array of ethnic artistry and crafts from vendors across the region and beyond.”

The University makes an effort to showcase the different cultures within the Fredericksburg area and to make the community a more rounded, welcoming environment for all. 

“The fair highlights the diversity that exists on campus and demonstrates the importance of diversity for the campus community to the Fredericksburg and broader communities,” Sandford said. “[It] shows how the University embraces the many ethnicities, heritages, and customs that make our campus and region so rich and vibrant.”

Although the Multicultural Fair is not the only cultural experience that takes place on campus, it incorporates more of the outside community, giving students a wider audience to perform to and greater business for vendors who come to campus. 

“We were pleased with the turnout for the fair this year. Thousands of individuals from the campus and broader community attended the fair this past Saturday,” said Sandford. “We were very appreciative of this show of support and excitement for the fair.”

Attendees were able to purchase clothes, rocks, handmade jewelry, beeswax candles and plants, but for many, the highlight of the Fair was the cultural food vendors from different regions such as Greece and India.

In addition to hosting vendors at the event, the Multicultural Fair also provided a space for UMW students and visiting performers to showcase their talents. 

Performance Art Company and Voices of Praise attracted large audiences outside of James Farmer Hall, and passersby stopped on Campus Walk to enjoy the performances.  

“I think this event is different from other multicultural experiences at UMW because this event includes the greater Fredericksburg community,” said sophomore environmental science major Amira Said. “This helps UMW become a more integrated part of the greater community.” 

Although the Fair is not student-led, many students volunteer to help assist in facilitating the activities around campus. These roles include setting up the event as well as cleaning up afterward, serving as a stage emcee, assisting at the information table, relaying public announcements, patrolling for litter and photographing the events that take place. 

“It’s nice to help out whenever [or] wherever I can, especially for a fun day like the fair,” said Kennedy Brooks, a sophomore communication and digital studies major.

Said volunteered at the Multicultural Fair because she wanted to be part of the celebration that recognizes cultures both on and off campus. 

“I believe the Multicultural Fair does make UMW more inclusive because it shows the commitment we have to providing a safe and inclusive environment for our students and community members,” she said.