By Joseph Garcia — 

Every year on Labor Day weekend, the Belvedere is flooded by thousands for four days to celebrate the rich cultural diversity that lives in Louisville.

“It’s a festival to honor and bring nationalities and cultures together so people can be educated about the world,” said Jalen Todd, a volunteer at this year’s WorldFest.

WorldFest doesn’t just invite attendees to experience these cultures. It gives people the chance to truly celebrate and learn about them from that culture’s people.

“This festival has taught me to learn about different communities and overcome stereotypes about people that aren’t true,” Todd said.

Todd said almost 30 countries spanning the globe were represented this weekend of celebration.

It’s immediately obvious that cultures are represented by the array of vibrant colors from national flags and the mouth-watering aromas blanketing the festival.

The food alone was enough to make a trip to WorldFest. There were common items like tacos and pad thai, but WorldFest offered more exotic foods to excite your taste buds like Ethiopian cuisine.

Just about every corner had a view of an open grill that sizzled with kabobs or large pans of noodles being tossed.

But these are not the only things lining the packed pathways.  Both local and visiting vendors sold items that represented their nationality or heritage.

Items like vibrant dresses, small jewelry, traditional masks and wooden decorations were everywhere.

There were also three stages among the festival that offered unique performances throughout the day. Performances included belly dancing, flamenco dances and various bands performing traditional music.

Junior Computer Information Systems major Levi Walton described WorldFest as diverse and accepting.

“I enjoyed seeing so many cultures represented in such a small section of Louisville,” Walton said, “I love knowing that I live in such a culturally diverse city that not only welcomes but celebrates the differences in its people’s cultures.”

Photo by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal