Kansas City’s 39th Annual Ethnic Enrichment Festival was held in beautiful Swope Park on August 17-19. On display were a host of activities from more than 60 unique cultures, including musical and dance performances, plentiful activities for children, and a wide variety of cuisines.

A brief walk from Pavilion Road yielded great views of the events at the pavilion stage. Featured on stage were folk dancers from Iran, the St. George Serbian Choir, the Scottish St. Andrew Pipes and Drums, and a vibrant, colorful ethnic fashion show displaying an array of the attire parading around the grounds. One of the many highlights on Saturday was the colorful and joyous Folkloricas Viva Panama, who closed the day’s activities at the pavilion. Sunday’s performances were quite impressive, particularly the voluminous, rhythmically precise Indonesian Gamelan Genta Kasturi and the soulful, powerful vocals of the Three Little Birds/Jahration singers.

The food at the festival is an annual treat, and this year was no exception. Many started their day with a rich, delicious Turkish coffee or a Malaysian Air Badung. Visitors to the festival were introduced to Ethiopia’s Key Siga Wot stew and the tastiest Venezuelan Arepas north of Caracas. Others stayed cool with a mango shake from Pakistan or shaved ice from the Hawaii booth.

The Ethnic Enrichment Festival is a wonderful reminder each year of Kansas City’s diverse population and shows how the various cultures and ethnicities help to construct this unique metropolitan area. Upon arrival, kids received a complimentary passport book and had it stamped for visiting each of the booths. Crafts were featured at the Kids World Tent both Saturday and Sunday.

It was a pleasure meeting so many new people and seeing so many familiar faces at the International Relations Council booth. We send our sincere thanks to the festival’s planners, the Ethnic Enrichment Commission, an IRC organizational member, for their decades of work to promote multiculturalism and international awareness in our community.


About the Author
Jason Rose is a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Business Administration and Spanish and is the community intern at the IRC for Fall 2018.