The plush, behemoth of a coach bus lumbered to a curb stop at Louisville’s Belvedere entrance. IUS students poured out and scattered up the concrete ramp into the 10th annual WorldFest for the free, three-day event, hosted by the city of Louisville, to display its growing cultural diversity.
The event highlighted food, music and culture from around the world. Spices sailed in the hot river breeze. The humidity carried distant rhythms of world music for blocks.
After the bus arrived at the Belvedere entrance, most of the students headed straight into WorldFest, but a group of five students, led by Chris Cole, general studies senior, headed out on foot for the first IU Southeast scavenger hunt in downtown Louisville.
Cole was recruited to lead a scavenger hunt for students by Seth Chaleuphonh, dean of Student Life, who coordinated the WorldFest trip.
“Seth asked me to pitch in,” Cole said, “so I came in, got the clues and the pictures together.”
Cole made use of an IU Southeast owned app to coordinate the hunt. The students used their smartphones and followed digital clues through several surrounding city blocks.
The first stop led them to the Muhammad Ali Center. After several more clues, the group made their way down to the Louisville Science Center. They crossed the street and pursued the contemporary museum gallery at 21 C.
The group walked down Main Street, following several more clues that eventually led them back to the Belvedere.
The students generally enjoyed the scavenger hunt.
“I got a better understanding of Louisville,” Shawn Billups, secondary education junior, said. “I’ve lived in Jeffersonville for like 11 years. It was like a tour, which I thought was pretty cool. For our group, it was perfect.”
Cole said he was pleased with the scavenger hunt.
“We had a successful turn out for the first one,” Cole said. “I’m just glad someone showed up period. I’m very excited that the feedback was great, and I can’t wait for next year.
“The app is available on the IUS website,” Cole said, “so anybody can do the scavenger hunt anytime they want.”
Each student in the group received a $10 Wal-Mart gift card as a prize for their participation.
Though the group of students did not know each other before the scavenger hunt, they forged some friendships during the tour and decided to stay together through the festival.
As they walked through the crowded pathways lined with booths of all different ethnicities, each of them split off for a bit to try a dish of their choosing.
Kelsey Zurschmiede, clinical laboratory sciences freshman, said she was most excited about the food.
“Who doesn’t love food from everywhere?” Zurschmiede said. “I’m looking for something I haven’t tried yet – something new.”
The five students from the scavenger hunt regrouped in the Louisville Third Century Hospitality Oasis tent that sheltered tables for festival goers. Modern chandelier lights and flags from around the world hung over the seated crowd while Delhi 2 Dublin played World Mix music on the nearby main stage.
Zurschmiede was the last to rejoin at the table, bringing back a Middle Eastern dish of chicken and rice.
“I really liked the way they used the spices,” Zurschmiede said. “A lot of countries, including America, use spices way too much. It’s just spicy with no flavor. Middle Eastern food always has the right amount spices, which bring out the best flavor.”
Jade Veirs, biology freshman, and Jason Bielefeld, informatics and business management senior, who helped with the student outing, made their way over to the group’s table.
“It was kind of a last minute thing,” Bielefeld said, “but we got everybody to come.”
Veirs said, this year, they have a lot more variety at the World Fest.
Even though the Veirs and Bielefeld helped with the trip, they still managed to try the food.
“I tried a garlic chicken dish with seasoning at the Thai booth,” Veirs said. “It was excellent.”
Bielefeld said he also enjoyed the ethnic dishes.
“I had the jerk chicken from the Jamaican booth,” Bielefeld said, “and it was wonderful.”
The pair also drank fresh fruit juice from the Columbian booth with their meals.
After the group finished their meals, they made their way back through the crowd toward the entrance to the bus.
“It was a rich cultural experience,” Zurschmiede said. “My favorite part of the festival was seeing America in its glory with all its different cultures expressing their individuality through music and food.”
By SAM WEBER