Saturday morning, Jackson’s second annual International Food and Art Festival took over the downtown area. Anyone who is familiar with downtown would be hard-pressed to recognize the normally dreary streets.
“I felt like I was in another part of the world,” said freshman nursing major Jordan Chism. “The costumes, the food and the atmosphere as a whole was a great way to spend the day.”
The streets were a whirlwind of spicy smells and vibrant colors in sharp contrast to the gray sky. Food trucks and tents lined the walkway, each representing a different world culture. Such countries included Japan, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Korea and China, among others.
Undeterred by the cold weather, representatives in traditional dress from each of the countries mingled with the guests in street clothes, adding a distinctly foreign feel to the atmosphere. A sequined shawl could be seen between jeans and dark jackets, while across the street, wandering sombreros crossed paths with a Kimono.
Kristen Go, a freshman chemistry major attended in a traditional Filipino Kimona.
“I was there with my mom and my aunt,” she said. “But the Filipino community is a big family to me—blood relation or not.”
She spent her morning at the festival among the crowd, representing her culture along with others of Filipino heritage by marching in the parade and sampling the food. She said she enjoys the festival because it brings out the diversity in Jackson, and she was optimistic future years of the festival would be even more fun.
“It shows many different cultures, delicious food and provides unity,” she said. “I believe it will bring the City of Jackson together.”
The festival is part of the city’s Season of Unity, which continues with Praise in the Park where different churches collaborate to host a service in a different city park every Sunday this month.