This past Saturday, the twentieth annual World Carnival was held in the Admissions Field where vendors, games, clubs and performances were held all day long. The weather was extremely compliant with the outdoor festivities and a cool breeze was felt throughout the day. The carnival began with a traditional parade starting at the Campus Center led by the St. Mary’s Drum Corps, in which student performers and any student who wanted to join in marched noisily around campus to end at Admissions Field. As soon as they reached the field, it was time for the ribbon cutting and annual reading of the Sneetches, a Dr. Seuss story about tolerance, by alumna and former Coordinator of Orientation and Service Sola Ogundele.
There were several dance performances underneath the large white tent in the back of the field where a stage had been set up with several rows of chairs for the audience. Operation Yatose (Japanese dancing) was followed by an all-female acapella group the Sextets, and the Daughters of Veda Middle Eastern Dancing Troupe. The belly dancers were local performers and showcased traditional styles of belly dancing from Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. The last dancing act was performed by the Teelin Irish Dance Company, which includes dancers from all age ranges out of the Teelin Dance Company in Columbia, Maryland.
Associate Professor of History Charles Musgrove commented, “This is my first World Carnival. I came out with my daughter Emily and I enjoyed it.”
While many attended the dance performances, there were a fair amount of clubs that had set up various games and prizes as well. Among the numerous tables, the fencing club was having mini bouts to attract and entertain observers. Another popular activity was the Black Student Union’s t–shirt spray-painting in the shape of countries’ flags. Lots of fun free prizes were given away like the Chinese fans and global themed stickers from the Office of International Education. While there were various free things, clubs also sold paraphernalia related to their particular interest. International Club sold necklaces, woven bracelets, and earrings from the organization Granada Street Kids, which supports homeless teenage boys in Nicaragua through the crafts they sell.
If you weren’t interested in the club tables, there were a lot of clothing, food and craft vendors to peruse. One of the food stalls sold funnel cake, gyros, fries and other fried goodness (coincidentally there was always a line) while the other offered all Thai food. There were adorable marionettes for sale, sand art, and another tee-shirt making area next to the vendors. A unique clothing vendor that sold dresses, bags and jewlery was set up in the corner of the field. First-year Amanda Sheeks’ favorite thing of the day was “The funnel cakes because they were delicious and I really liked them. Also I liked it when Greg from the Fencing Club dressed up as a pirate.”
While students were enjoying the welcome break from their academic routine, faculty also took the time to enjoy the beautiful weather and brought their families to the carnival. One such example would be Associate Professor of German Anne Leblans who said, “It is a good event to bring your family to and I have been to many other world carnivals with my daughter.” There were many children, both big and small, lined up for the inflatable Twister platform and bouncy obstacle course throughout the day.
The main event happened around four o’clock in the afternoon, when the Holi festival (based on a Hindu festival from India) began with the participants changing into their white tee-shirts to throw colored flour at each other. It was quite a sight as over 100 students flocked around the bags of flour and released their contents to the air; the wind did the rest, as the colored powder coated everyone in a thick layer head to toe.
There was a break after Holi and the final event was the musical performance by Thick as Thieves, a popular rock band from Los Angeles that seems to transcend musical labels and received strong praise from the audience for the band’s original rap-rock songs, as well as their covers of Kanye West tunes. As sophomore Jewel Williams pointed out, “World Carnival was a great time for the campus to focus on non-academic things and just hang out. It was nice to see all the families out there.”