Ethnic Food Fair brings eccentric dishes, music to campus

As the artist duo “First Klass Barbados” played soul and beatbox covers of pop songs, over 150 students lined up to sample dishes originating from various countries around the world at this semester’s Ethnic Food Fair.

“The attendance is always very good,” Patricia Bristor, associate dean of students, said. “It’s nice to see students know what it is and they continue to come.”

Many students have attended the event several times over the years for their love of food. Lydia Polarine, junior art and psychology majors, and Taylor Summerville, junior accounting major, have attended every fair since they enrolled at Waynesburg University.

“There’s food that is different than the cafe’s,” said Polarine. “It mixes things up.”

The various sample-sized portions in aluminum pans represented various countries, such as Korean, Italian, Japanese and Polish foods. Faculty, Aladdin Food Management Services, various campus clubs and some staff members of Students Services created the bulgogi, pierogies, lasagna and other dishes. For Summerville, the event is a perfect way to extend and explore tastes and likes.

“It’s nice to be able to try things, even if you’re scared to try new foods,” Summerville said. “It’s things that would not have thought about

First Klass’ music caught the attention of eating students. The band created a lively atmosphere than with previous guest artists.

“The music is definitely more interesting,” Elizabeth Kalansky, junior English literature major, said.

Bristor said the has had its ups and downs over the years. The main problem is the number of dishes available, said Bristor. The fair usually has enough in the fall because of participation from students in the Cross-Cultural Communication course and other sources. But the support does not carry over to the spring fair.

“I have to evaluate even though I’ve been doing this program since February of 1995,” Bristor said. “Everyone likes to eat, but not really want to cook. So I have to evaluate whether or not to continue doing it in February.”   

Even after 24 years of organizing this event, Bristor still enjoys seeing the community eat and interact together.

“Seeing people come together, the music, people sitting back, talking [and] communicating with one another in a different environment,” Bristor said.

After every fair, all the leftover food is donated to St. Anne’s Church’s Dinner Program on Tuesday nights.

The next Ethnic Food Fair will return in the Fall 2019 semester.