|Mayor Bill Jenks, III|
One campus. One Community. One world. That continues to be the theme of the ever popular Celebration of Nations event scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Rolla. Now in its third year, the Celebration of Nations was created to promote awareness, understanding and the celebration of the vibrant cultural diversity that makes Rolla unique to the Ozarks. The colorful and vibrant Celebration of Nations banners displayed along 10th Street, Pine Street and downtown Rolla serve as a reminder and symbol of how our community recognizes, embraces, and celebrates its cultural diversity.
Celebration of Nations, which was featured this year at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia on Aug. 14, continues to expand, and if you didn’t get a chance to attend the event last year, you won’t want to miss it. The event is primarily coordinated by the Office of International Affairs at Missouri University of Science and Technology, but receives critical input from international students at Missouri S&T, and other departments at the University, the campus, and the City of Rolla.
The festivities for this unique event start at 11 a.m. with a colorful and festive parade that kicks off at the Havener Center on the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus. The parade winds through the Missouri S&T campus and downtown Rolla, and concludes on 9th Street at the downtown festival lot and bandshell where every country participating will be recognized much like the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Downtown Rolla will be filled with floats, bands, camels, horses, donkeys and more colorful flags from more countries you may ever see in one place in the Missouri Ozarks. So if you like international festivals, culture, diversity, travel, great food, entertainment, education, and fun, you are sure to enjoy Celebration of Nations.
After the parade, a festival will be held in the downtown festival park that will include a variety of authentic crafts and international foods from around the world, calligraphy, face painting, sand art, children’s activities, inflatable bounce houses, a dunk tank, paper/wood fans for decorating, Origami, Calligraphy, Henna tattoos and an authentic tent from Saudi Arabia, complete with sand, camels, dates, and tea served by Missouri S&T students. You almost feel like you are traveling around the world as you visit numerous cultural displays hosted by several Missouri S&T International student associations, and groups from several countries, including the African Student Association.
Another popular, educational and international aspect of the event are the passports that are given to all the children who attend, and stamped by international students who host booths that reflect the cultures and customs of their native countries. International Idol, which includes a wide spectrum of performances representing an international flair much like the American Idol competition seen on TV, is also a highlight of the festival. This event alone is worth attending the Celebration of Nations as it attracts some of the best performers and entertainers in the Ozark Highlands.
The food offerings, which are reasonably priced (between $1 and $5) for students, families and the public, are also what make this highly anticipated event the popular festival it has become. This year you can once again experience an international and diverse menu that includes French crepes, spicy Indian food, Chinese food, Thai food, Taiwanese, Pakistani, Mexican, Columbian, African, American and so much more. There will also be American BBQ served up by Chartwells and Key Sports. So if you like international festivals, culture, diversity, travel, great food, entertainment, education, and fun, you are sure to enjoy Celebration of Nations.
If you are interested in joining in the festivities by having a float in the parade, being a vendor/crafter at the festival or competing in International Idol, please contact Stephane Menand, Student Program Administrator, in the Office of International Affairs at Missouri S&T at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nations.mst.edu.
Have a nice weekend, and a safe week!