Man at vendor booth at Athens’ Ohio University International Street Fair (photo courtesy of Ohio University)

Explore Cultures of the World at Ohio University’s International Street Fair

Visit Howard Park in Athens on April 6 to learn about other countries, try new foods and learn how we are all connected in more ways than we may realize. 

Colorful flags wave in the breeze at Howard Park on Ohio University’s campus as the scents of pani puri, spring rolls and Thai curry chicken draw visitors to tents across the grounds. Live music fills the air, and students from around the world highlight traditions of their home countries.

The Ohio University International Street Fair began in the 1990s when a group of students informally assembled on Court Street. Today, the university formally hosts the day-long celebration that shines a light on cultures spanning the globe. The festival, set this year for April 6, is free for the public and includes family-friendly activities such as games, henna artists, tea-ceremony demonstrations and more.

“They try to do things that are fun for kids but actually have an international tint,” says Diane Cahill, director of international student and scholar services at Ohio University. “[They] also try to help kids understand that people all over the world are kind of similar. They have dogs. They have families. They play games.”

Attendees can purchase food on-site to support international-student groups at Ohio University, and the festivities include live music performances and spoken-word poetry during an event that aims to unite the campus and city.   

“It gives [students] an opportunity to remind the community how important it is to welcome others,” Cahill says, “and to welcome them in such a way that they become our friend or part of our community.” Howard Park is located at the corner of East Union and South College streets, Athens 45701,