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Metro Newsroom

WorldFest to Celebrate Louisville's Diversity

Wednesday August 17, 2005

With more than 60 languages spoken in Louisville's schools and 50 percent of the city's population growth over the past 15 years coming from international residents, Louisville is more culturally diverse than ever before. Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced that all of the community’s cultures and nationalities will be celebrated this Labor Day weekend, at the third annual WorldFest on the Belvedere. The two-day, free festival is set for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 2 and 3, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“Louisville is a community that embraces the roots and diverse cultures of our residents,” Abramson said. “WorldFest is an opportunity for people of all ethnic backgrounds to come together to celebrate their heritage, as well as experience and enjoy the heritage of others.”

A globe-trotting taste experience, the festival features Louisville's largest collection of ethnic restaurants at one event, with more than 20 food vendors - representing 20 different nationalities - offering cuisines of all kinds for sale.

Two stages will feature a global variety of entertainers providing continuous performances, ranging from African drumming, Indian, Arabic, Middle Eastern, Bolivian, Celtic and Caribbean music - as well as flamenco dancing. An international beer and wine garden, and more than 50 craft and informational booths will offer residents a unique introduction to any of the dozens of international cultures represented in Louisville. In addition, Radio Disney will help the kids “Explore Culture Through Crafts” during free sessions, Friday, 4-8 p.m., and Saturday, noon-4 p.m.
Saturday’s festivities will be highlighted by a parade of nations led by Abramson, beginning at noon and progressing from Main Street to the Belvedere. A naturalization ceremony will follow at 12:30 p.m., when nearly 150 people from 35 countries will become U.S. citizens.
Last year’s WorldFest on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend attracted more than 25,000 people. The event was moved to Friday and Saturday this year to appeal to downtown lunch crowds looking for a break from work and unique food offerings.

ValuMarket is the presenting sponsor of WorldFest. Other sponsors include Budweiser, Bellarmine University, McKendree College and the Louisville Water Company.