Despite rain clouds looming over the grounds, 200 Wildcats gathered outside to throw colorful powder into the air as Weber’s Davis campus held its annual Color Festival. Some students considered the event as a break from their academic lives.
The festival was held on March 31 in observation of Holi, the Hindu celebration for the coming of spring.
“I was really impressed. I’m surprised that more people don’t make a bigger deal about this,” said freshman Brittany Kadleck. “Being in college kind of sucks sometimes, especially with finals coming up. But these are the real perks: being able to go out on a Friday night for free and have fun.”
Holi Fest is meant to be a lively and spirited event, and the campus planned accordingly. Activities for students and community members of all ages began around 5 p.m., and included a selfie-station photo booth, an organic henna tattoo station helmed by local artists, a variety of authentic Indian food options and live performances of cultural dances and music.
“We really stressed authenticity because we want to express cultural appreciation and not cultural appropriation,” said Student Involved Leadership adviser Erik Ashby.
A children’s corner provided families of non-traditional students a chance to participate as well. Kids practiced marble art ― a popular Indian craft where marbles are dipped in paint and spun around a canvas ― and also participated in the mandala-coloring station.
“I think it’s nice to see everyone celebrating their own holidays and bringing in their own traditions,” said Catrina Fernandez, community member who brought her two young boys to the festival. “My kids loved the henna tattoos and the marble painting,” Fernandez said.
Vice President of Davis campus Hayley Tomney organized this year’s event with the help of the Davis Programming Board. As Tomney’s last year at WSU, she aimed to create an event that would leave a lasting impact on the Weber State community.
“It’s a tradition, and it really highlights our campus,” Tomney said. “It’s the only Holi event that happens at Weber State. We have people drive down from Ogden campus to come to this event. That’s a big deal for us: that they are willing to drive down and give Davis a try.”
Live entertainment included two troupes of traditional dancers and authentic Indian music provided by the Desibels. This is the second year the Desibels have performed for the Color Fest.
“Desi means Indian in Hindi, our language, and decibel is a unit of sound ― which is how we got our name,” said Charles Mallela, spokesperson and band member.
Mallela was pleased with the reception and representation of the Hindi culture.
“The way they managed this event is perfect, it’s great,” Mallela said. “Good food, color, music, dance ― that’s the heart of Holi.”