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Culture Fest: The Value of Community and Coalition

by Reggie Goudeau

Features Editor


Last Saturday, April 15, 2023, the MRC hosted Oberlin’s first Culture Fest in collaboration with plenty of parties. From students, faculty, and individual offices on campus to community members, this was an event by and for the Oberlin masses in all capacities. My partner and I volunteered at the event for several hours, and had firsthand experience seeing the fun everyone in attendance experienced.

Before anything else, I’d like to comment on how accommodating this event was to volunteers. We had a break room in Peters Hall where we initially checked in, and that we could return to anytime. It had water, snacks, and the sweet embrace of air conditioning. Even if people did not feel like returning all the way there, the information table had water as well for volunteers, vendors, and attendees alike. All events featuring unpaid student labor should have these features at the bare minimum.

Beyond this, the event occurred on a gorgeous sunny day. My partner worked near the bounce house, and I manned the information table alongside Hannah Bouillon. Around nearly every walkway of Tappan Square there were tables for different organizations and departments on campus, along with a food section. The bandstand also featured multiple artists and bands performing, adding to the energetic yet peaceful ambiance of the day. From Noah Sherman and his band to the Langston Middle School and Oberlin College Gospel Choirs respectively, there was almost always music in the background. I also loved how, although there were a fair amount of bands like the previous and OSteel, there were also individual students like Damian Goggans who were able to shine. I even got a chance to perform a few R.E.G hits of my own during the Culture Fest Open Mic.

While the music was a clear highlight, the general events happening and showcases from some clubs were also unforgettable. Sci-Fi Hall’s costume contest had lovable nerds from across campus donning gear from noteworthy video game, anime, and cartoon franchises. One of my personal favorites was my friend Ren Waldman’s cosplay of Levi from Attack on Titan. The OCircus showcase from Waldman and others was fun to witness as always. While I sadly had to attend to other matters before AndWhat? performed, I’m absolutely confident they killed it like they always do.

The event even had some curveballs that were well worth seeing or experiencing. For instance, there was a build-a-bear station at one of the tables, and a strongman competition run by fourth-year Ali Alotbi during Culture Fest near the Oberlin College Bookstore. I know that I missed a great deal of what was offered, even while attending for most of the event’s duration. That’s not a bad thing, but simply a testament to how much culture was packed into this day. No matter where you looked or spent your time, if you came to Culture Fest, there was at least one thing to love and appreciate.

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