Kent International Festival keeps getting bigger and better | June 18

Dave Mortenson likes how each year the Kent International Festival picks up the interest of more and more people. “We’re getting a greater participation not only of people coming to it but people wanting to participate,” said Mortenson, a Kent resident and one of the event organizers. “And we’re getting a wider diversity of people participating.”

The Kent International Festival features a wide array of entertainment and activities  including music

The Kent International Festival features a wide array of entertainment and activities including music

Dave Mortenson likes how each year the Kent International Festival picks up the interest of more and more people.

“We’re getting a greater participation not only of people coming to it but people wanting to participate,” said Mortenson, a Kent resident and one of the event organizers. “And we’re getting a wider diversity of people participating.”

The third annual festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 18 at Town Square Plaza, at the downtown corner of Second Avenue and West Smith Street.

Volunteers from local groups and businesses started the festival in 2009 to celebrate the cultural diversity in the community through music, dance, food, arts and crafts.

“When you look at not only Kent but South King County and the change has been immense,” Mortenson said of the diverse population. “What’s exciting about it is people from all parts of the world come here and we get to share in their good restaurants and good entertainment.”

Musical performances, ethnic dance, spectacular native attire and authentic food are the emphasis of the free festival. And the performers and food vendors are all local.

More than two dozen performers will fill two entertainment stages, the main stage in the northwest corner of the park and a smaller, feature stage in the southeast corner. Acts will alternate on each stage so no groups are performing at the same time.

The entertainment lineup includes Native American songs and dances; hip-hop dancers; a Chinese Lion dance; Japanese music and dances; Irish dancing; Bollywood dances; steel drums; belly dancing; Celtic and South American music; jazz and many more acts.

“There is Chinese and Japanese entertainment and a variety of song and dance,” Mortenson said. “We are getting that variety now.”

The five winners from the recent “So You Think Kent Has Talent” competition also will perform.

A multi-cultural fashion show at 11 a.m. on the main stage will feature Kentwood High School students as well as members from the South Puget Sound Chinese Language School.

“We added a second stage for the smaller acts and to try to draw people around the park to see all of the booths,” Mortenson said.

Vendors will run about 25 booths. Some will feature crafts. About one-third of them will be cultural booths to inform guests about other countries.

A couple of the booths will display entries in the Kent School District art contest for students who do not use English as their first language. The winners of the art contest will be announced at 1:30 p.m. on the feature stage.

About a half-dozen restaurants will staff a food court to include samples of Kenyan, Irish, Thai, Mexican, Indian and Mediterranean dishes.

Festival goers also can check out the Kent Farmers Market that runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Town Square Plaza.

If you go

What: Kent International Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 18

Where: Town Square Plaza, 2nd Avenue and Smith Street

Cost: Free

 

 

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