WK&U Festival books all performance slots for first time

Crawford Hydrology Lab Manager LeeAnne Bledsoe belly dances in front of students Tuesday on the edge of the South Lawn as part of the WK&U Fesitval.

Kevin Allen

Belly dancing, an impressionist who specializes in cartoon character voices and Christian interpretive dance — these were just a few of the acts that took the stage Tuesday night at the third WK&U Festival on South Lawn.

Valeashia Smith, the event organizer and assistant director of student development, said exposing new and returning students to a wide variety of cultures and presentations has always been the point of the festival.

“Just embrace the differences,” Smith said. “That’s the nature of diversity.”

About 2,000 students have attended previous festivals, Smith said.

This year, the lure of free multi-cultural food and entertainments was just as strong for the audience, and the performers as well. Every time slot from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. was booked, a festival first.

For volunteer entertainers such as Lee Anne Bledsoe, the opportunity to share her passion and talent is the greatest motivation

Bledsoe, a hydrology lab manager at WKU, has a surprising talent. She teaches and performs belly dancing at In Motion studio.

“One reason I perform belly dance is to share a different culture — to celebrate diversity,” Bledsoe said. “That‘s the reason I‘m here today.”

Bledsoe hopes that by exposing students to new things, the audience will open its mind to different opinions and ideas it wouldn’t have otherwise considered.

However, there weren’t just foreign cultures on display at the festival.

WKU Greek life was also on display, especially in the form of various step teams.

For Kappa Alpha Psi member Keion Tillman it wasn’t just about the performance. The festival also provided Tillman, a Cincinnati junior, an opportunity to get together and enjoy time with his fraternity.

“Everything I do in Kappa is fun,” he said. “Whether it is volunteering, or stepping, or just being out and being a positive role model for people on the campus.”

Indianapolis sophomore Yvanna Dugan has attended WK&U twice and had a great experience both times.

Dugan said there’s no reason for people to skip the festival and all that it provides.

“Definitely come, you won’t regret it,” she said. “It’s fun, you meet plenty of people. Everyone is really welcoming and you can get more comfortable with the campus. It’s a great experience to be a part of.”