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Culture Fest unifies UWRF students

November 21, 2014

UW-River Falls students, staff and community members gathered in the William Abbott Concert Hall on Nov. 14 for “Culture Fest.”

Culture Fest is an annual event that is hosted by the UWRF Asian American Student Association (AASA). The event included performances by UWRF students, performance groups from the Twin Cities area, a cultural fashion show, Chinese and Ethiopian food and raffles.

AASA members have been planning this event since the start of the school year. Ka Zoua Vang is one of the co-presidents of AASA and she said the club reached out to other organizations on campus to team up with them to make this event happen. Black Student Union (BSU), Swing Dance Club, and the Japanese Animation and Film Club were just a few of the clubs and organizations that worked with AASA.

There were 18 different performances at the event. Most of the performances were done by members of AASA and the other clubs that helped out with Culture Fest. Samantha Herr is the AASA secretary and she said they even brought in performance groups from the Twin Cities. Herr said she also used Facebook to find people who would be interested in performing at the event. Hmong Heroes and the Ha Family Lion Dance Troupe were two of the groups that came from the Twin Cities to perform at the event.

Hmong Heroes is a dance group from the Iny Asian Dance Theater in the Twin Cities. According to the Iny Asian Dance Theater website, Hmong Heroes is a dance group made up of boys ages nine to 18 who perform in competitions and cultural festivals. Three members from the group traveled from the Twin Cities to perform at the event.

Another group that came from the cities was the Ha Family Lion Dance Troupe. The troupe performed a traditional lion dance to percussion. Dancers acted as the front and back legs of the lion as they were draped in a large Chinese lion costume during the performances.

Along with the two performance groups from the Twin Cities, UWRF students also performed at Culture Fest. The student performers did covers of different songs, performed choreographed dance routines and also put on a fashion show.

The Swing Dance Club was one of the UWRF clubs that performed at Culture Fest. Andrew Leininger is a member of the Swing Dance Club and he said he started working on the routine about six months ago with another member of the club. Six members of the club performed to the song “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.”

BSU was another club that participated in Culture Fest. Members of the club sang covers a few songs including a cover of “I Give Myself Away” by William McDowell and “Oceans” by Hillsong United.

There was also a cultural fashion show put on at the event. Members of the different clubs modeled clothing and styles from different Asian cultures. Halfway through the event, the guests were invited to eat some Chinese and Ethiopian food. The food was ordered from Peking Garden and India Palace.

Herr said there were about 200 people that attended the event. Boyd Stacken was one of the students that attended Culture Fest.

“I thought it was a really good experience,” Stacken said.

Members of AASA said making sure the event went smoothly was the most challenging part of putting it together.

“It was exhausting but really rewarding,” Vang said.