DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — For two hours Saturday night, the Foxcroft Academy gymnasium was converted into a spacious dining facility where a smorgasbord of ethnic foods awaited eager diners.
The annual International Culture and Food Festival held by the academy gives foreign students a chance to share their culture and favorite dishes from their homelands and the public an opportunity to meet the school’s large foreign population.
“We really wanted to focus on showcasing the boarding program at FA,” Chris McGary, the academy’s dean of boarding and admissions, said Saturday night. “It’s just a great opportunity for the students to get out into the public.” He expected about 200 people would attend the event.
The 96 foreign students, representing eight countries, and approximately 20 day students cooked an assortment of colorful, intriguing dishes that were displayed on tables covered by crisp white tablecloths.
Sweet snowballs, a dish featuring kiwi floating in a gelatinous mass, fried potato soup, eggs marinated in a Chinese sauce and tea, stretch noodles, onion chicken, spicy fish stew, seaweed soup, chicken in ginger and green onion, and savory egg pudding were among dishes the public had an opportunity to sample for a $3 admission fee.
The academy strategically placed smaller tables throughout the gymnasium where the public could stand and dine.
Martin Yang of China, a first-year student, prepared stir- fried vegetables as well as chicken in ginger and green onion sauce, both colorful dishes. He said the event was fun.
Patrons also had fun. Heather Kurtz of Dover-Foxcroft, who hosts a Chinese student in her home, called the event “great.” She was making her way around the tables when she stopped to sample sour cabbage soup. “Sour! Very Sour!” Kurtz said as she wrinkled her eyes and puckered her mouth. Kurtz said she enjoyed the bratwurst, a meat sausage, because of her own German heritage. She said she also liked some of the chicken dishes.
Jen and Mike Foley of Dover-Foxcroft called the festival “fantastic and a lot of fun.” Among the dishes Mike Foley sampled first were the spicy fish stew and seaweed soup, which he said were good.
“They’re all wonderful,” Sylvia Dean of Sangerville said while nibbling on the samples. Along with the food, she said she enjoyed how some students described how they prepared their dishes.