Music, Food, and Culture are Abundant at the 34th Annual I-Fest

by Kevin Amirdjanian ’14

On Saturday April 14, 2012, Claremont McKenna College hosted the 34th Annual International Festival. Organized by the International Place of The Claremont Colleges, the International Festival, also known as I-Fest, is a very popular day of cultural exchange that draws huge crowds every year. I-Fest is open to students, faculty, and staff of all the 5C’s as well as members of the Claremont community.

5C students set up booths across the north quad mall where they sold the traditional food and drink of the country they represented. Nothing draws a college student outside faster than the promise of a delicious snack and I-Fest certainly delivered in that regard. One of the most popular drinks sold at the festival was the Mango Lassi, a combination of mango and yogurt, which could be found at the Indian table. Another popular food was the Yakisoba, literally “fried noodle”, sold at the Japanese table.

Additionally, many different artists came to perform at the festival, including the Amaya Bollywood Dance Team, the 9th Street Hooligans (5C Acapella group), Psyko Taiko (Japanese Taiko Drum Performance), and Soul Samba Dancers, among others. One of the biggest crowd pleasers was the Masanga Marimba group. They played energetic and fun music, encouraging everyone to stand up and dance along. At one point there was a conga line running through the quad between Appleby Hall and the Athenaeum. Kenny Cunanan ’14 certainly enjoyed it, remarking that “My favorite performance was the Masanga Marimba group because you could tell they really enjoyed playing for the festival…I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people at CMC dancing to anything other than party beats.”

One of the biggest reasons why students attend I-Fest (outside of the food) is that they gain a greater understanding and knowledge of other cultures. Jessica Kaushal, a sophomore at Pomona College and one of the lead choreographers for the Amaya Bollywood Dance Team, took part in the festivities and wholeheartedly agrees. “I-Fest is an INCREDIBLE event. It’s fun to get to see a lot of cultural things in one place and experience it festival-style with your friends. And the performances are always excellent.”

Perhaps the best part of I-Fest, however, is the chance for friends across the colleges to spend the day in good company. Sanggeet Mithra (Scripps) ’14, one of the MC’s for the performances, puts it best. ” My favorite part of the festival was walking from stall to stall and talking to everyone; the people waiting in line, friends from the 5Cs that I had not seen in a while…I-Fest definitely brings the larger 5C community together to share great food, talent, and company.”

For more photos click here.