Virtual IFair allows students to celebrate their cultures

Provided by Cultural Awareness

IFair will be fully virtual on April 9 at 7 pm due to the pandemic. Performances, cultural booths, and the fashion show will be available through a video. Earlier this year, club sponsors and board members ultimately decided that keeping the event virtual would ensure participants’ safety. 

Cultural Awareness Co-president Shivani Vyas, ‘21, said, “The safety of students was our top priority so we wanted to keep in-person meetings to a minimum. The virtual IFair allowed participants to practice over Zoom and record in-person.”

As a result, all performers were responsible for the recording of their videos, and were expected to wear a mask and be socially distanced at all times. While they were not allowed to come into the building to perform, students were able to make the best out of this situation.

“The virtual IFair was our best option and the participants used a lot of creativity when it came to practicing and recording,” Vyas continued.

Hosted by Cultural Awareness, IFair was usually an annual all-day event that allowed Conant students to showcase their cultures. In previous years, staff and students were able to watch performances and visit booths in the gym during lunch periods. Later that evening, a night show and fashion show were held in the auditorium for friends and family members. 

Cultural Awareness Communications and Publicity chair Avril Mauro, ‘21, said, “I’m not sure about other groups, but mine is specifically planning to film outdoors since we have seven people. We also practiced in smaller groups together and tried to practice altogether outdoors. The responsibility of making IFair COVID friendly is shared by every participant.”

Individual videos that groups submitted were then combined into one video that students can watch through their devices through a Zoom webinar. 

Mauro said, “IFair may be virtual, but the work that goes on behind the scenes by each participant is just as strong as previous years, maybe even more with COVID safety precautions.”

No part of the show will be live. “We tried to make it as professional and high quality as possible so that it still resembles the real thing.” 

The senior dance, normally a longer performance at the end of the show with all the senior participants, was split into segments performed by individual groups. Cultural Awareness Co-president Khushi Thakkar, ‘21, said, “Practices were definitely a little more difficult. Groups have learned the dances based on a tutorial video. We met for one practice to go over our formations and then filmed the video to be as COVID conscious as possible and avoid meeting in larger groups multiple times.”

Due to COVID-19, this year’s seniors missed the traditional IFair experience 2 years in a row. Mauro felt that her group missed out on the full “IFair experience”. “This year, I’m happy to just be able to have a show at all. Overall, missing two live IFairs makes me treasure the experience of performing on a stage in front of an audience even more. The energy and ambiance of a moment like that are unforgettable, and I only wish we could have had that one more time before we knew it was over. The hardest part of it all is having it end without any of us ever expecting it to.”

Additionally, freshmen and sophomores still haven’t been able to have the real IFair experience. Shreya Patel, ‘23 said, “When I found out last year that we had to cancel IFair, it was sad because it would’ve been my first real IFair experience. But to have it not in person this year is still rewarding because we were still able to show off our culture in a different way. This past year was learning to adapt and all students and staff in IFair this year adapted to new circumstances to keep on the tradition of the spectacular show that is held.”

Nevertheless, students have still put on a performance that they’ve worked hard on for IFair this year. Join the Zoom webinar on April 9 to see this year’s annual IFair performance.

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