Annual Harvest Fest posts a spin on Thanksgiving

Chinese food, a Japanese flute player and belly dancers will all be at today’s Harvest Fest.

The Department of Modern Languages and Classics along with Alpha Mu Gamma normally attract about 200 people to the annual event.

Harvest Fest is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Muncie, 4800 W. Bradford Drive. 

“I think it’s important for people to see that even though we are in the middle of Indiana that we have quite a lot here, as to broaden our knowledge of other cultures and to experience other cultures,” Dorothy Stegman, a French associate professor, said. 

The different language clubs, faculty and students will bring food representing different ethnicities. 

Harvest Fest will have French, Spanish and German songs, a French dance, a Japanese flute player, a belly dancing demonstration, a martial arts presentation and other cultural activities. 

Alpha Mu Gamma, a national honor society in the field of foreign language study, encourages students to come to the event for the diverse food available.

“People can try out food [that] maybe they haven’t had before,” Alex Van Gorp, Alpha Mu Gamma president, said. “Try something that you may never had. It’s all homemade food, which is always more delicious.” 

A professor also will prepare Chinese food at the event. 

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this event will offer those foods that aren’t normally eaten at this time of year.

“Break is coming up soon, and we need anything to help break up the monotony,” Van Gorp said. “And having food from all over the world for free and watch people be multicultural I think is a great way to break up the monotony in this final stretch before Thanksgiving.”

The evening’s agenda will include learning, too. 

“It’s a food experience to get to know different cultures,” Stegman said. “It’s a chance to get to know the people from other cultures, the exchange students from various countries.” 

As a professor, Stegman said she wants people to understand that cultures are not just about the language. 

“It’s just a broadening of their point of view,” she said. “It’s an idea that language is not just about studying verbs and being able to translate and things; it’s also about the contrast and differences in the cultures.” 

Van Gorp said he wants students to enjoy the overall experience of Harvest Fest, including the food and demonstrations. 

“I want them to have a full stomach,” he said. “And [I] mainly just want to make sure everyone has a good time. I want them to enjoy all the different demonstrations we have.” 


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