Worldfest on the Belvedere: Louisville’s own culturally diverse community on display

By on September 4, 2012

By Esther Lee–

Just as the billboards that you see in downtown Louisville and on Bardstown Road mention, WorldFest truly allows you to “See the World. (without leaving town)”. Worldfest recently celebrated its 10th anniversary through the Labor Day weekend on Louisville’s Belvedere downtown. Worldfest is an annual festival that celebrates the vast cultures and diversities that the city of Louisville offers with food, music, dance, and more over a course of three days.

“[It’s] a festival that allows you to experience diverse beauty around the world,” Mia Nguyen, Vice President of the University of Louisville’s Vietnamese Student Association, Education major, age 19, explained. Jordan Wolz, age 17, who worked at one of the food stands also explained, “WorldFest is a nice time to show off Louisville with the music and dance. It’s three days, all day, of fun. It’s a great place.”

At the festival, there were over a hundred booths that were catagorized as “World of Cuisine,” “Worldfest Booths,” and “World of information.”

Anyone would be able to tell you that they had a hard time deciding what to eat at the festival. Foods varieties ranged from Columbian to Greek and Jamaican to Indian. There was just not enough time and stomach capacity to try everything. On the other hand, your wallet probably went on a diet after just one day at WorldFest because of the all the bought items such as trinkets at Sandy’s Crafts and colorful shirts and floral-printed dresses at Demb AK Tey.

Not only were there countless of booths and stands, but also three main stages which showcased a variety of music and dance performances. Thanks to these performances, every inch of the Belvedere was covered by some sort of music.

At the Main Stage, groups such as Delhi 2 Dublin (World Mix) fired the crowd with its musical mash-up of cultures such as Bhangra and Celtic. People couldn’t help but dance or jump to the group’s energetic and outstanding live-performance and music. Other groups such as the Groove Masters (Afro-American) and The Ark Band (Reggae) performed on the other side of WorldFest on the Fountain Stage. The stage was beautifully placed in front of the fountain (hence the name) which gave life to any performance on the stage, especially during the evening when the fountain lights turned on.

When asked about his first WorldFest experience this year, Christophe T. Leong, age 19 answered,“This was my first WorldFest, and I enjoyed it very much. I had always thought Louisville lacked a ‘cultural’ element. Yes, there is the Crane House, but it lacks something to connect these ‘islands’ of cultures. But at the WorldFest, it harkens back to the marketplaces, the silk road, and the bazaars of the past. An exchange of ideas, music, food, and products. A reincarnation of an old concept.”

After a day of eating and walking around to different booths, listening to Reggae of the Ark Band and drinking the last bit of manga smoothie was the best way to end the night. Without any doubt, WorldFest is one of the greatest events that Louisville has to offer.

Leong continued, “I am very impressed and very jovial that this exists. Hopefully these ‘islands’ will come and be one great continent of cultures.”

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Photos: Eric Voet/The Louisville Cardinal

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