Festival shows other side of state

The state of Kentucky has long been the butt of many jokes for being backwoods, hillbilly or just downright behind the rest of the country as far as making meaningful progress. The barefoot farmer image apparently dies hard.

But perpetuators of that stereotype might want to add the word diverse to their Kentucky vocabulary.

This past weekend marked the 13th year of the Bowling Green International Festival at Fountain Square Park.

The four stages of the annual festival included food, music, dancing and exhibits that displayed the rich diversity that exists in an area not usually noted for having much of it.

Among the performers were the Aimon String Quartet from Ulm, Germany, the Scott-Ellis Irish School of Dance, the African Culture University Drum and Dance Ensemble and Tom Pardue’s East-West Kung Fu Academy. That list alone displays culture from three continents.

Here at Western, if you go a complete school year without having at least two students from another country in one of your classes, then something is terribly wrong.

For a multitude of reasons, many international students are choosing Western and the city of Bowling Green to pursue higher education. In turn, they are making the campus and the city a better and more enlightened place.

Each year, organizers said, has brought a larger number of participants to the festival, and they expect it will continue to grow. So far the only criticisms stem from participants wanting to see a more diverse selection of central festival events to choose from.

With the increasing popularity of the festival, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Western, its surrounding community and the state are better for festivals like these. If you haven’t been to one yet, then year 14 should be highlighted in your calendar. Diversity begins with learning and experiencing how people different from you live their lives.

Here’s to the organizers for helping not only Western and Bowling Green to see the value of diversity and culture, but the state as well.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.