People from all over the world join together this Labor Day weekend in Louisville, KY to celebrate their heritage at WorldFest. Now in its 10th year, Louisville will host this international event where cultures showcase their customs in vibrant dress, traditional music, handcrafted items and delicious cuisine. Approximately 30 vendors will display their specialties on the Belvedere featuring Asian, Indian, Cuban, Mediterranean and other ethnic foods. The Kentucky Travel Industry Association nominated WorldFest as one of the Fall Top 10 Festivals in the state and selected as one of three Judge’s Recognition Awards. WorldFest is a one-of-a-kind educational experience, allowing visitors to immerse with cultures that create our melting pot.
One of the many events taking place during WorldFest is the Naturalization Ceremony. Approximately 300 immigrants will take the oath of United States citizenship in the Bomhard Theater of the Kentucky Center on Saturday, September 1, 2012; at 1:30 p.m. The annual ceremony serves as one way for refugees being resettled in the area to become citizens.
One local organization supporting refugees with housing, employment, and transition as they come to America is Catholic Charities. About 800 refugees were resettled in 2011, according to Chris Clements of Catholic Charities, with an expected 850 this year. The majority of refugees have come from Cuba, Bhutan/Nepal and Burma within the last year, with others from Iraq and Somalia in the past. “Our agency has resettled families from a total of 42 countries in its 30 year existence,” Clements noted. Another agency responsible for resettling 500 to 600 refugees each year is Kentucky Refugee Ministries. Together, these two agencies resettle an estimated 1500 refugees annually.
WorldFest is host to the Parade of Cultures which will take place on Saturday, September 1, beginning at 12 p.m. at 6th Street near Metro Hall. At least one dozen countries will be represented, wearing their native dress and performing traditional dance and music.
A new attraction is added this year to the event schedule. The Global Village will be home to representatives from 22 countries all under one roof, showcasing their culture and customs. The times open will be on Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and on Sunday, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
If you are attending WorldFest, be sure to bring canned food items to support the Dare to Care Food Bank. Over 100,000 people attended WorldFest last year and volunteers are always needed. To be a participant, sign up on their website and become a WorldFest Ambassador.
With over 35 bands, kids’ activities, and food galore, there is something to do for everyone at WorldFest. Take your families to this amazing around-the-world experience without ever leaving your backyard.