With every few steps in the Student Union at Marshalltown Community College, a different culture would welcome visitors with open arms. The inaugural Diversity Festival took place Thursday afternoon at MCC.
It featured multicultural dancing, food, poetry and displays from several different countries.
"We wanted to showcase all of our differences and how we are all part of one community," said Joan Jaimes, organizer of the event with MCC. "With the students, staff and faculty, we have 27 different countries represented."
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Henna Patel, left, and her father, Amarat Patel, talk to visitor Martha Schwandt at the Marshalltown Community College Diversity Festival in the Student Union Thursday. The Patels had a booth with several items from their native India, one of several countries represented at the festival.
Jaimes said in the busy world we live in, people can get so caught up in their own activities that we tend not to learn about one another. This makes the festival that much more important, she said.
"We wanted to make time to learn about each other's cultures," she said.
Marshalltown resident Henna Patel is a native of India, and her family had a booth that displayed Indian money, jewelry, clothing and food.
"We can express our culture and show people how they live in India." Patel said. "This is great to learn about all these different cultures."
Maria Colunga, of Des Moines, had a booth selling several items from Mexico and said the toys and bright colors tend to get the most attention. She liked the idea of being able to learn about different cultures and said much of the food tasted good.
"This brings communities together and different cultures together to share," Colunga said.
There were also representatives from different religions and sexual orientations at the event. Jaimes said they hope to have the festival again next year and plan to add more special events.