Office for Globalization Newsroom

WorldFest to Celebrate Louisville's Diversity

Monday August 17, 2009

100,000 expected at International food and music festival Labor Day weekend

Mayor Jerry Abramson announced today that Louisville’s many cultures and nationalities will be celebrated this Labor Day weekend at the 7th annual WorldFest. The free festival – which drew more than 100,000 people last year – is Friday and Saturday, September 4 and 5 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the city’s waterfront Belvedere at 5th and Main Streets.

A World of Performances is the highlight of WorldFest, including non-stop Latin and reggae music with dancers from Japan and Ecuador as well as Salsa, Irish, African and Chinese dance. Headlining performances include Sones de Mexico Ensemble from Chicago and Celtic rock by Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul.

New this year is a Sister Cities of Louisville Village that will showcase the foods and culture of Louisville’s eight Sister Cities: Montpellier, France; Jiujiang, China; La Plata, Argentina; Quito, Ecuador; Leeds, England; Mainz, Germany; Tamale, Ghana and Perm, Russia. Official delegates from each Sister City will travel to Louisville for this year’s WorldFest weekend to celebrate landmark anniversaries: Louisville’s 55th anniversary with Montpellier; 30th anniversary with Tamale; 15th anniversary with three cities – Mainz, La Plata and Perm; and its 5th anniversary with Jiujiang.

“WorldFest is a celebration of Louisville’s rich diversity,” Abramson said. “More than half of our city’s population growth now is attributed to new residents moving to Louisville from other countries. “We are excited that guests from our Sister Cities will join Louisville’s international citizens at this year’s WorldFest, making it a richer and more diverse event.”

WorldFest features Louisville’s largest collection of ethnic restaurants at one event. More than 30 food vendors will offer unique cuisines from around the world. Chef Nancy Russman will return with “Cooking Up Cultures” demonstrations on international cuisine. Juleps Catering at Sullivan University will sell foods representing Louisville’s Sister Cities. International beer will also be available and the Java Brewing Company will have coffee tastings.

The popular World of Children area offers plenty of entertainment for children and families including free international crafts and games. Kentucky Down Under will be at the festival from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday with animals from Australia and more. Fiesta Latina features music from Latin America. More than 100 booths provide a unique introduction to the dozens of international cultures represented in Louisville.

On Saturday, more than 300 people will take their oath of U.S. citizenship at a naturalization ceremony at Fourth Street Live – then join the “Parade of Cultures” at noon. The ceremony is coordinated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services – Louisville.

WorldFest was recently named a Top 20 Event for the summer and fall by the Southeast Tourism Society. The Top 20 Events recognize the most unique, diverse and unparalleled events held in the southeast U.S.

WorldFest has generous support from local organizations. The top sponsor is ValuMarket with support from AT&T Real Yellow Pages, The Courier-Journal, Louisville Hotbytes, Budweiser, Kentucky Lottery, Insight Cable, La Caliente, Louisville Mojo, MetroTV, WFPK and Al Dia En America.

Volunteers are still needed to help with the event. For more information on WorldFest contact MetroCall 311 or visit



Worldfest is Friday and Saturday of Labor Day weekend, September 4 and 5, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the Belvedere, located at Fifth and Main Streets. Admission is free with international food, beer and crafts available for purchase. WorldFest features continuous live music, including headliner acts Friday and Saturday nights. Parking is available on nearby streets.

A World of Performances…

Friday, September 4, 2009

MAIN STAGE (West Lawn)

12:30-1:30 p.m. Desperados Steel and Drum Band, Calypso music

5 p.m. Flamenco Louisville, Flamenco dance

6 p.m. Hussam Al Aydi & Baladna with Coco Yam, Arabic /world music and dance

7:15 p.m. Cosa Seria, Salsa, Meringue and bolero music

9 p.m. Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Celtic music


11 a.m. WorldFest Opening Ceremony
Mayor Jerry E. Abramson

11:15 - 11:45 a.m. Quitumbe Andean Ballet Andean ballet from Quito, Ecuador

11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Noh Dancers, Japanese traditional dance

12:15 - 12:45 p.m. Quitumbe Orchestra, Andean music from Quito, Ecuador

5 p.m. The Derby Boys, Irish music

6 p.m. Maestro J, Haitian music

7:45 p.m. Sones de México Ensemble, Mexican folk (performance is made possible by support provided by the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts and Jefferson Community & Technical College)

Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009

11:00 a.m., Naturalization Ceremony, at Fourth Street Live

Fourth and Liberty streets

MAIN STAGE (West Lawn)


Route starts at 6th and Jefferson Streets, turns north on 4th Street, goes by the Kentucky International Convention Center, west on Main and ends at the stage

1 p.m., Louisville Pipe Band, Drum ensemble

1:30 p.m., River City Drum Corp., African American drum

2:15 p.m., Ruric-Amari and the Samovar Dance Theater, Belly dancing

3 p.m., Salsa Rhythms Band, Salsa and meringue

4 p.m., Men of Thunda, Celtic drums and bagpipe music

5 p.m., Quitumbe Andean Ballet, Andean ballet from Quito Ecuador

6 p.m., Quitumbe Orchestra, Andean music from Quito Ecuador

7:15 p.m., Alma Gitana, Gypsy soul music

9:30 p.m., Acapulco! Latin-Tropical Party Band, Caribbean music


11 a.m., Taiko Drummers and Noh performers, traditional drum and dance from Japan

12 p.m., PARADE OF CULTURES, main stage

1 p.m., Organization of Chinese Americans, traditional Chinese dance

1:30 p.m., Imani Dance & Drum Company, African dance

2:30 p.m., Arcoiris Latino, Mexican folk dance

3:15 p.m., Heaven & Earth 360, African American spoken word and music

4:00 p.m., FlamencoTalk, Flamenco dance and music

5:00 p.m., Al Hamsa, Belly dance

6:00 p.m., Ut Gret with Ruric-Amari, International fusion music and belly dance

7:15 p.m., The Ark Band, Roots reggae

A World of Cuisine...

Asian fusion, African, American, Greek, German, Indian, Italian, Jamaican, Mediterranean, Mexican, Middle-Eastern, Thai, Vietnamese, the Budweiser Bier Garden and more.


Tickets $7 or two for $10

Friday, September 4, 2009

4 p.m., Brewing Techniques

6 p.m., Single Origin

8 p.m., Home Brewing

Saturday, September 5, 2009

1:30 p.m., Brewing Techniques

3:30 p.m., Single Origin

5:30 p.m., Home Brewing

7:30 p.m., Single Origin

Cooking Up Cultures

Chef Nancy Russman presents cooking tips on international cuisine.

Friday, 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, 12 to 8 p.m.

A World of Support…

Stage Sponsor:



AT&T Real Yellow Pages, The Courier-Journal, Louisville Hotbytes

Arts Diplomats:

Budweiser, Kentucky Lottery, Insight Cable, La Caliente, Louisville Mojo, MetroTV, WFPK, Al Dia En America

Supporting Minister:



Bellarmine University, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Leo

Ami, Amico, Amigo:

Fourth Street Live, Juleps Catering at Sullivan University, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Louisville Water Company, Publishers Printing, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services – Louisville