Saturday’s International-Fair officially began when the doors to the Oak Room opened at 11 a.m. But the line anticipating this commencement started much earlier.
By 10:30 a.m., the line had already stretched past the water fountain in Seymour Union.
Juniors Tiesa Mcelroy and Lilly Saenz, the first two girls in line said they had been waiting since 10:15 a.m., a full 45 minutes before the doors to the Oak Room even opened. They said they “wanted to get here early.”
They had looked at the menu posted in the Hard Knox Cafe and thought, “This looks different from what it was last year.”
There were not just Knox students in line, but also some Galesburg residents who were also excited to get a taste of the different foods.
Some students really got into the spirit, dressing up in festive costumes or outfits they had brought from abroad.
While some people waited patiently in line, going around to every single tray and picking a little bit from each, some students would just pick one or two things from one table, go back to eat and then come back again.
Some favorites foods were the pajeon (a Korean pancake with chives), macha (green tea ice cream) and the Vietnamese spring roll. The Thai tea was also good.
“Almost everything I got was fantastic and not typical,” junior Laura Castanos said. “This year there was a lot more to enjoy … It’s not all authentic, but they tried so hard. I really appreciate that.”
Some students were a little disappointed that some of the fried food was cold, but understood that making the food the night before had been necessary.
“So much food! This is all our dreams come true!” junior Kasandara Sullivan said. She emphasized that she and her friend — both of whom live off campus — have really been looking forward to eating really good food.
Other students were simply glad to share.
“Those who haven’t been exposed to our culture get a taste of it,” sophomore Angeles Garduno said.
The students who prepared the foods were maybe even more excited to share what they had made.
“I think it came together nicely,” senior Cameron King said as he replaced another metal tray full of aromatic “dirty rice.”
“We did everything from scratch,” sophomore Anna Nguien said. “We had problems … but in the end everything was fine.”