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International students from the Maine Central Institute host food festival

The festival celebrated the rich culture of students from 20 different countries, preparing their signature dish to share with others

PITTSFIELD, Maine — Since 2007, the Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield hosts an international food festival for everyone to enjoy.

Maine Central Institute is an independent boarding and day school for local and international students, grades 7 to 12.

Due to covid, the festival did not happen last year so students went all out this year highlighting their cultures through their favorite hometown dish.

"These are arepas, arepas are made out from a special type of flour, everything in and you put it on top and your eat it all together!" said a girl from Colombia who attends the school.

"I made fairy cakes today! They are very light English, almost like a cupcake but very light and airy!" said Hector Blidh, a student from the United Kingdom. "This is an event that I participated in my first year at MCI, and it was such a shame that it couldn't happen last year with covid, I was ecstatic to have it roll back this year, it's something that I really think brings people together and really just opens people up, it's a great time."

Students celebrated a piece of their culture through typical home dishes at the festival, this year students from 20 different countries participated.

"Having such a great diversity here, we love to celebrate that! And there's no better way to establish connections with people than through food," said Artur Fass, a teacher at MCI.

Jade Sanchez made tamales. "It's a very big tradition, the Mexican tamales, so we thought a lot of people would enjoy them!"

"This year we have the largest turnout ever at the festival, I think partially because it's been such a long and difficult year, and now finally we get to do things like that," added Fass.

"We are just here to have a good time, enjoy the day and try something new!" said Nadine Wheeler, who came from Palmyra with her sister.

"It's good because we share food, culture, and languages, and it's important because we all get to meet here!" said Nicholas Aro, the French teacher at the school.