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Sreshta Meduri, 11, adjusts her earring as she sits with her family after preforming a classical Indian dance, the Kachipudi, at the Sep. 28th, 2019 at Bowling Green International Festival. This is the second year in a row Meduri has performed her traditional dance.

The Bowling Green International Festival is still happening this year but in a virtual format.

COVID-19 has changed many things including the festival, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Instead of an in-person celebration of cultures, the Bowling Green International Festival will take place online in partnership with Vid Monster Productions, a video production company based in Bowling Green.

Kim Mason, executive director of the festival, has worked hard to plan the event despite challenges.

“We are trying to translate as much of the normal event as possible to the virtual platform,” Mason said. 

One of the biggest challenges has been figuring out how participants can create virtual booths and performances.

Performers of a variety of musical genres were given the option to submit a recording of their performance, be recorded in studio or be recorded remotely by Vid Monster Productions. Each performer will have a virtual tip jar, allowing those watching to support them. 

Performances will be streamed on the festival’s website as well as their Facebook page. The stage will also be streamed on WDNZ TV 11, which can be seen over the air or on the Glasgow cable system.

As for food, a virtual Cultural Expo will provide cooking demonstrations. There is also a virtual recipe box where members of the community can submit a recipe for others to try at home. 

Merchants and other vendors will have virtual booths where they will provide links to their goods and online stores. There will also be cultural displays and activities.

A virtual gallery walk will be shared, showcasing work from artists across Southcentral Kentucky that is influenced by foreign culture.

Jessica Snodgrass, gallery walk curator, organized the gallery virtually this year because she has ties to the artist community and previous experience hosting virtual art exhibitions.

“The gallery walk gives viewers an opportunity to explore many different cultural influences in a variety of forms of art expression,” Snodgrass said in an email. 

Participants were encouraged to submit images and videos of their workspaces, so that attendees of the festival will be able to explore those spaces in addition to the artwork itself.

According to Snodgrass, the gallery walk will include influences from a variety of countries including France, Japan, Western China and Russia.

Hannah Barahona, board president for the festival, said in an email that planning for this year’s festival was completely different. The board worked hard to replicate the key parts of the previous in-person events. 

“It’s going to give us the opportunity to maintain our traditions and reach an even wider audience, all while still helping keep our participants and community safe,” Barahona said. 

Despite the transition to a virtual format, attendees can expect the same entertainment and in depth look at a variety of cultures. 

“I hope that people will enjoy learning more about the cultural heritage of our community members and the traditions of countries around the world,” Mason said. 

The Bowling Green International Festival will take place virtually on their website on Sept. 26.

Kelley Holland can be reached at kelley.holland872@topper.wku.edu. Follow her on Twitter @kelleyaholland.

Kelley Holland has worked as a reporter for the Herald for 2 years. She is a Diversity and Community Studies major with a double minor in journalism writing and citizenship and social justice.