The Confucius Institute Hosts its Fifth Annual Chinese Festival

By: Rachel Berry

The Confucius Institute at Miami University held its fifth annual Chinese Festival on Sept. 28 to celebrate Global Confucius Institute Day. The event began at Cook Field with martial arts and kite designing competitions. Then participants headed Uptown for cultural booths and performances. The bright, clear skies contrasted the cold, rainy days that preceded it earlier in the week, and people came from all over the state to take part in the festivities.

At 2 p.m. over 400 local students gathered to learn kung fu led by CIMU instructor Chen Zhang and local martial arts expert Jerome Cook. They then tested their kung fu skills in a competition between the schools.

Students had received the kite theme, China impressions, ahead of time and were able to decorate their own Chinese kites to bring to enter in the competition, where they competed in individual and team brackets. Afterwards, they flew the kites, filling the sky with color and beauty.

At 5:30 p.m. students, faculty, and community members flooded Uptown for the second half of the event. Nearly 20 Chinese culture and art booths filled the streets. Activities included photo booths with life-size Chinese characters, Peking Opera mask painting, paper windmill making, and many more. Children eagerly ventured from booth to booth collecting stamps for their passports to win prizes.

Miami Students learning Chinese culture

The show began at 7 p.m. with speeches from Cheryl Young, Assistant Provost of Global Initiatives at Miami University, and Vice-Mayor, Steve Dana. Young thanked the Confucius Institute for organizing this event and also expressed gratitude for all the volunteers present and the local school teachers for their assistance. Dressed in traditional Chinese clothing, students Taylor Freibert and Vincenzo Bianco hosted the event.

The performances allowed Miami University clubs and local students to showcase their creativity and knowledge of Chinese culture. Confucius’ clubs participating in the show included the Lion Dance Club, the Chinese Music Ensemble, the Folk Dance Club, the Martial Arts Club, and the Han Costume Club.

In addition to presentations by Miami groups, Mason High School exhibited their skills with Chinese yo-yos and swords. After this, Franklin County High school performed a song, and later Cincinnati’s Bing Yang Performing Arts Center showcased Chinese drum and dance acts. Miami University's DZTB Street Dance Club closed out the night with a hip-hop combination.

The festival was a great success, and attendees offered high praises for the event. For example, Jackie Metz from Bowling Green, Ohio, said, “Now we’re getting to learn more about Chinese culture and loving it.”

University Ambassador Renate Crawford expressed her support for the event.

“It is just so cool to see so many students...that are here at Miami to be part of this really inclusive festival. I think it’s amazing bringing culture right here to the heart of our campus,” she said.