WorldFest—one of the region’s largest international festivals—celebrates its 10th anniversary with three days of expanded world food, music, dance and culture this Labor Day weekend, downtown on Louisville’s Belvedere. Exciting world music will come from more than 35 bands and performers while more than 30 food vendors and nearly 150 booths provide a global sampling of cuisine and culture.
In addition to local and regional world music, nationally-acclaimed artists performing will include the powerful Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Funkadesi, reggae performers The Ark Band and Canadian world music group Delphi 2 Dublin.
New attractions this year include expanded activities for children and a Global Village that will showcase the culture and customs of more than 22 countries under one roof. Admission to WorldFest is free all three days of Labor Day weekend -- Friday, Aug. 31, Saturday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept. 2, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. each day.
“Cities that embrace and encourage their international citizens and cultures will thrive, have a stronger quality of life and will attract new growth and jobs,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “WorldFest is a great event for exploring and celebrating Louisville’s many faces and cultures and we always look to make it more vibrant and diverse. So, it’s exciting to add new features and attractions for the 10th anniversary.”
Additions to WorldFest 2012 include:
· Global Village where you can mingle and interact with representatives of nations ranging from Argentina to Vietnam who will be dressed in their native clothing, conversing in their native language and dancing to their culture, custom and music;
· World of Discovery gives children a global experience without leaving home. Activities include the “Worldfest Passport” sponsored by Yum! Brands which allows kids to visit the world’s continents through crafts, face-painting and other activities including the Home Depot Workshop;
· Asian culture activities and demonstrations will take place in the Louisville Third Century Hospitality Tent in partnership with Louisville’s Crane House. Highlights include Japanese bamboo sword-fighting and Tai Chi demonstrations, a ping pong tournament, food tasting and the Squallis Puppeteers.
· Career Opportunities & Resources Expo provides job opportunities and resources with a special focus on the immigrant population. Workshops will include resume writing, interviewing, as well as immigration and employment law. It will be held Friday, 1 p.m. –5 p.m. at the Galt House West.
· World of Education will showcase Louisville’s higher education resources with an emphasis on preparing students to live and work in a global society.
WorldFest features the largest collection of international and ethnic restaurants, vendors and exhibitors at a single event in Kentucky.
Three stages of globe-trotting music and dance entertainment will have continuous performances ranging from African drumming to reggae to Indian, Celtic, Arabic, Caribbean music and more. The Fiesta Latina stage will feature music and dance from Latin America.
The three-day festival includes a colorful Parade of Cultures at noon on Saturday and a naturalization ceremony Friday at 1:30 p.m. where nearly 300 immigrants will become full U.S. citizens.
People coming to WorldFest are encouraged to bring canned goods to benefit the Dare to Care Food Bank. Collection bins will be at the main entrance and in the World of Discovery children’s area.
WorldFest was honored in 2010 when Louisville was named the top city in North America for festivals and events by the International Festival and Events Association. In 2011, it was named a Top Ten Fall Festival by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association.
2012 WorldFest Video
WorldFest is presented by Louisville Third Century, UPS and ValuMarket. Contributing sponsors: Budweiser, Insight, Jameson Irish Whiskey and Yum Brands! Supporting sponsors: Bellarmine University, Galt House Hotel & Suites, Home Depot, Kilimanjaro Foods Inc., Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau and Signature Healthcare. Media sponsors: Al Dia, LEO, Louisville Defender, Louisville Public Media and MetroTV. Additional support provided by Boss Hog’s Catering, Celts on the River, Creative Alliance, VisionWorks and Walmart.
For more information about WorldFest, visit www.worldfestlouisville.com
Office for Globalization: Created by Mayor Fischer in 2011 to help make Louisville a more international city, the Office for Globalization helps plan and coordinate WorldFest. It is one of a series of events and activities that help integrate recent immigrants to Louisville and expand Louisville’s reach into global markets. Suhas Kulkarni is the director of the office which is part of the city’s Department for Economic Growth and Innovation.