International Fair Wows Hershey


Everyone in the parade stands on stage before the dance of the Chinese lion. After this, they are free to roam about the International Fair.

By: Echo Rogers

Hershey took a trip around the globe.

The annual International Fair returned to Hershey and was held in the ECC and the Hershey Elementary School on Friday, March 18, 2016.  Everything from foods to crafts to interactive games were spread out between the two buildings.

The event began with a parade through both buildings and ended with the students exploring the 35 countries present.

In the parade, elementary students from each country dressed up and held a sign representing where they were from. Jason Guo, HHS junior, and Lily Broach, HHS freshmen, led the parade in their Chinese lion outfit. They walked through the ECC to the elementary school building and ended in the auditorium.

Once each student and their country was announced, they went up on stage.  After that, Guo and Broach performed a dance in their costume. That was followed by several more performances from many different countries including dances from an Irish dance school and traditional Indian dancing as well.

While these presentations were going on, students could walk freely between stands, talk to each person, and receive a stamp on their passport.  The event began at 5 p.m. and ended at 8 p.m.

Saima Mumtaz, head of the fair, said, “The International Fair gives everyone- not just the students- an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the diversity not just present here in Hershey, but all around the world.”

Mumtaz also said she loved the “wonderful, creative ideas parents, families, and high school volunteers bring to the Hershey International Fair.”

One such man is John Nazario. Nazario has been to the fair for the last 16 years. Each year he assembles a ship he made himself and brings it to the fair and to classrooms to show students. Through this ship, he teaches the students all about Puerto Rico.   

Puerto Rico is important to Nazario because he used to love visiting his grandparent’s farm. Nazario said, “I really got to understand the culture.” His favorite part was that he didn’t need a passport to travel between the two countries.

Even the kids enjoyed it. Landon Zimmerman, an HHS Elementary student, said, “I liked getting to experience how their culture works.” Zimmerman enjoyed all the costumes and countries.

And it wasn’t just elementary school students who came. Over 150 high school students came and volunteered. Both Spanish Club and French Club created a booth. Model UN also had their own stand.

Model UN, also, represented several countries this year, including the continents Antarctica and Australia. Mumtaz had asked Model UN and their president, Guo, to cover these continents since they decided to separate the buildings by continents. Europe was in the elementary school while every other continent was in the ECC.

As for the food, Greg Hummel, Director of Food Services, created a delicious international feast: a taco bar, enchiladas, and even a bake sale in the elementary cafe. Michael McCall, HHS sophomore, said that was one of the main reasons he came was to try the food.

Student were also able to create dream catchers and little paper plate pandas in the art room, and in the gym, students got to play soccer with the Hershey Soccer Club.
Even though, as Mumtaz said, “It’s quite adventurous putting the International Fair together,” it came together nicely, and it’s a great time for the students to learn about many different cultures. Mumtaz said, “They [the parents/families] bring with them brilliant colors of diversity in the form of dances, games, arts and crafts, interactive story telling, and so much more.”