Families visited Blue Oak Elementary’s gym last Friday night to learn about — and taste the foods from — 13 countries represented at Buckeye Union School District’s third annual International Festival.
Passports were given to all children upon entry. A visit to each of the countries’ exhibits (Afghanistan, Austria, France, Germany, India, Jordan, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States) surrounding the perimeter of the gym allowed children to fill in their passports with fun facts and the stamps of each country.
Ethnic foods were also a delicious attraction. In the Philippines visitors could taste lumpia (Filipino egg rolls), suman (sticky rice) and buchi (sesame balls with beans). Sixth-grade Camerado middle school student Andy Verala helped at the booth and said his favorite part was “all of the food!”
The center of the room offered activities and crafts, including flag and maracas making. A new addition to the festival this year was a poster contest. Following the theme “My Heritage and Me,” children carefully crafted their work in the hopes of a trophy and prize pastel and drawing pad set given to the winners in each of three age categories.
Afghan and Hawaiian dancers took to the stage for entertainment, as did performers from the Proscenium Performing Ringger Studios.
Led by Buckeye parent Cigdem Askin, a native of Turkey, the event is now a district affair after its initial success when Askin piloted it at Oak Meadow Elementary two years ago. “This time we have parent volunteers from several schools — not just one — coming together to share with the whole community,” she said. “I’ve committed to coordinate the event for the district in the years to come.”
A free, family event aimed at promoting friendship among students and families, the festival also celebrates the district’s multicultural community. Buckeye Union Superintendent David Roth said, “The heritage festival is an important celebration of the diverse cultural backgrounds that make up the students and families of Buckeye. It also encourages students to explore and contemplate our increasingly global society and it builds respect and awareness of cultural heritage.”
Event sponsors were school district, Aloha Dancers, Bamiyan Afghan Restaurant, Cold Stone, EF Homestay International Student Program, El Dorado Hills Art Studio, Folsom Quality Meat and Grocery, Liberty Tax, Los Angeles Turkish Tourism and Culture Office, Proscenium Performing Ringger Studios and the Sacramento Children’s Museum.