Cultural organizations across campus will come together this Friday for the International Festival.
The annual event, which is hosted by the I-House, will be held on Pedestrian Walkway. The festival gives students a chance to showcase their traditions with food, dance and music while raising money for their clubs.
Officials say the International Festival is the I-House's biggest event. Fourteen booths will be set up by the various cultural clubs on campus. A tent will have tables set up by charities and offices focusing on international subjects. Programs Abroad will also be present to inform students about the program's study abroad options.
Mariana Garciagodoy, graduate teaching assistant for the I-House, helps direct the event.
She said she believes this year's festival will be as fun as the last. The only difference, she hopes, is that the weather holds up.
Last year's festival nearly got ruined by the rain, Garciagodoy said, but event organizers were able to bring everything indoors to continue the festivities.
Rain or shine, this event will go on.
"It's a great opportunity for students to get involved," Garciagodoy said. "Maybe learn a little bit about different cultures and meet people from areas of the world that they're not usually encountering."
The event, she said, is also a chance for international students to express their traditions.
"A lot of students might have some of the international students in their classes," Garciagodoy said, "so it's nice for our students to be able to come and experience and just see that there are other types of dancing and food and learn about different cultures."
The festival will give students a chance to taste some cultural dishes, as well. Each of the 14 booths will feature traditional dishes from their home countries. A Chinese group called The Ladies of Inspiration will also be serving bubble tea in the tent.
The booths will partake in a competition which will be judged by randomly-selected students from campus.
There will also be free giveaways, like T-shirts and food vouchers for the booths. Students can receive these giveaways by stopping at booths and answering trivia questions.
Cultural music and dances will also be performed at the festival. There will be Japanese, Indian and Russian dance groups sporting traditional dress while performing. There will also be a group breakdancing and an African drum group.
The festival is a learning opportunity for UT students, organizers say, as well as a teaching opportunity for members of the international clubs.
Brittany Wright, sophomore in linguistics, is the treasurer of the Russian Language and Culture Club.
Wright said she believes sharing their culture with people who have a limited understanding of it is especially important this year due to the rising political tension between the U.S. and Russia.
"Besides sharing our culture with other students, it also gives us a chance to celebrate our similarities and differences as humans," Wright said. "This is really important for many of the Russians that I interact with."
The International Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. The performances will run in rotations beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 1:30 pm.