Amanda Fennell, Staff Writer

Image sourced from Immaculata University’s social media

Picture this – there’s two days left of the week and a month left of school. You step outside of your dorm, and the April afternoon greets you with beautiful spring weather. As you walk closer to the Loyola Quad, your ears perk up at the sound of live music. Like a rainbow that ends with a glorious pot of gold, the music leads you to Immaculata’s annual Culture Fest, a feast for your eyes, ears, and stomach. 

You discover that the source of the music is a live band performing in front of the Parsons Science Pavilion. The band livens the event by providing background music that is so fun that several attendees dance.

You walk along the Quad, stopping at tables to learn about different countries and eat bites of food that represent each country’s cuisine. For instance, Poland’s table features kielbasa sauerkraut, and one of the refreshments for Mexico’s table is churro cheesecake. You can also try arepa con queso from Aruba, Whippet™ cookies from Canada, and sholeh zard (rice pudding) from Iran. 

The table for Norway, set up by Skye Dreng Hamrell ‘25, particularly catches your eye. You stop by and get to enjoy a heart-shaped waffle with authentic strawberry jam from Norway spread on top of it.

Skye Dreng Hamrell ‘25 with her table for Norway. Image sourced from Amanda Fennell

In an interview for this article, Skye comments, “I was very excited to be able to share a piece of Norway with everyone, especially since Norway hasn’t been represented at Culture Fest before.”

The heart-shaped waffles at her table are called hjertevafler, and Skye describes how “they’re a type of what we call ‘kos’ in Norway- that means having a good time.”

Skye explains how these waffles can be found everywhere in Norway, where “they have great dairy products, so you use a lot of milk and eggs and flour and sugar.” Regarding the waffles she made for Culture Fest, Skye adds, “I even threw in some cardamom, which is what you normally put in breads in Norway, and it adds this really nice flavor.”

Hjertevafler (heart-shaped waffle) and Norwegian jam. Image sourced from Amanda Fennell

In addition to tables that pertain to a specific country, there are also tables for other kinds of culture, including women’s history and IHM culture. Two sisters, Sister Sheila Galligan and Sister Cathy Nally, even dress as the founding members of the IHM order, Father Louis Gillet and Mother Theresa Maxis, respectively. 

Sister Sheila Galligan, IHM and Sister Cathy Nally, IHM. Image sourced from Amanda Fennell

To top it off, a Kona Ice truck serves free water ice, a perfect treat for the spring day!

Paul Gaudino enjoying water ice from the Kona Ice truck. Image sourced from Amanda Fennell

Immaculata’s annual Culture Fest on April 10 offered a wonderful chance to appreciate different cultures and simply relax. When asked about this year’s Culture Fest, Skye, who has attended the event three times now, shared, “This year’s Culture Fest, in particular, was really set up nicely- we had a live band and everything. It really made you feel like you could take a few hours away from school and just enjoy.” 

With inviting live music and new countries represented, 2024’s Culture Fest was a smashing success. Now we just have to wait for next year’s!

Image sourced from Amanda Fennell