Food festival draws diverse crowd

Chance Swaim

Students gathered en masse Tuesday on the lawn between the Rhatigan Student Center and Neff Hall to get a taste of something different.

“The food on campus gets boring this time of year,” said Annie Woods, a Wichita State graduate student. “You get tired of rotating between Chik-fil-A and Shocker Hall, and you just want a change of pace.”

This spring’s InterFest brought food from 15 countries to Wichita State — the “change of pace” many students had been looking for.

“If they had this, like, once a week, I would be much happier,” Woods said.

About 500 people, including students, faculty and community members, attended the International Food festival Tuesday at the Neff Hall Courtyard. Food served from tent-shaded tables steamed and sizzled, and music drew students to the courtyard.

Foods native to Paraguay, the Netherlands, the Middle East and Asia were served all afternoon, but the doner from Turkey stole the show.

“The Turkish students have been the most popular with their doner and have been the star attraction,” said Alan Dsouza, advisor for the International Student Union.

Doner is a meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie and served on pita, similar to a sandwich, with vegetables.

Each semester ISU organizes the food festival, better known as “Interfest,” to provide a platform for cultural sharing and raise funds for student organizations.

“Every Interfest is unique,” Dsouza said. “[This year] the highlight was that an instructor of Spanish, Laia Dietz from Mead (Middle) School, brought 35 students and four adults to the events from the community.”

Beyond offering enjoyable food, the student groups did well raising funds, Dsouza said.

“Each table raised different levels of funds, ranging from $50 to several hundred for some tables,” Dsouza said.

The festival also had a DJ, who played both western pop music and international music.

To start the festival, the line to get food was continuous for more than an hour, a constant wave of students filling their plates, exchanging $1 to $3 tickets for food from around the world.

Among beverages, thai tea with bobba was most popular.

“I love the tea,” said Annie Woods, a graduate student. “The bobba pop in your mouth when you chew them and it’s just good.

“I like that the food is cheap and you get to eat something new — something outside of Shocker Hall or RSC and the weather was really nice. It was a really good surprise between classes.”