By: Sadaf Ayaz
They say there are two ways to get to know a culture: through its arts and food.
The World’s Fare Food Festival was the epitome of what it means to integrate and share the best of the world’s cultures with each other.
Especially in America.
Over 100 vendors came together for the weekend to share food from their country but left leaving and taking so much more.
From music, dance, and anecdotes hundreds of people joined the vendors for a journey of exchanged food and culture. A journey of experiencing what it meant to be someone who belonged to a specific country.
A walk through the festival was nothing less than an experience of walking blindfolded guided by the millions of tastes, smells and sounds of the world.
Starting from Latin American food, you could hear the music from the vendor’s calling out to people to plug in a move of salsa or two as food prepared. The crinkling of the corn sleeves with the popping of individual seeds and their smell entranced many of us to lean on a table and grab a sip of lemonade in anticipation.
A walk further down made it feel like we had entered a whole new part of the world. Freshly-made Asian delights from sushi to burgers and seafood had many waiting on long lines to get a taste. Some vendors even wore their traditional clothing. In fact, the lead cook of the Chinese food vendor was draped in a bright red silk dress.
Even further, I came across the South Asian vendors. The area around them immediately sent whiffs of the spicy smell of Indian curry and chicken.
Several American and European vendors were also present. The most popular was the Belgian Waffles cart. The sweet smell of waffles and the very Instagram-able aesthetic kept the lines long for the cart all day.
Weaving through the crowd of various colors, backgrounds, and religions, I found myself taking a moment to appreciate the beautiful moment created in a country made for people from all backgrounds.
Here, joined by food, music, and dance, we were all individually ourselves as well as collectively humans who appreciated the beauty of cultures we were now being exposed to.
There was no I or me. There were no issues or conflicts. There was only curiosity and acceptance.
It was a selfless experience of fantastic exploration and open communication.
Some people spoke to each other in different languages still perfectly understanding each other through the universal language of kindness and humanity.
People entered the festival with a mindset of experience. And they left feeling like they had achieved that and much more.
They learned how to dance to music they had never heard before with moves they had never tried before.
You could hear the sound of humanity—happiness, laughter, kindness.