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WorldFest Offers Four Days Of International Food, Music, Culture

WorldFest, the region’s largest international festival, will take place Labor Day weekend, marking its 16th year with four days of international food, music, crafts, and culture.

The festival, which runs Friday, Aug. 31 to Monday, Sept. 3on the Belvedere, will feature a revamped layout to enhance the visitor experience, including new locations for both the West Lawn and Fountain Stages, as well as the addition of a third stage on the Overlook.

More than 70 local and regional entertainers will offer a variety of music, dance styles and beats ranging from African drumming to Reggae to Indian, Celtic, Arabic, Latin, Caribbean music.

Complete schedule and more information

Headliner acts include Etnopolis, featuring Luca Ciari in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Chicago, the British Invasion Experience, Ville Casineras, The Pearls and more.  The Overlook Stage will host Noche Latina, or Latin Night, with song, dance and sizzling Latino sounds from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1

More than 100 vendors will participate, with 30-plus food vendors serving a global sampling of cuisine and culture. Along with food, attendees can purchase unique international crafts and visit the World of Information to learn about various international agencies in the area.

“Louisville is a city of compassion, a global and welcoming city whose population growth has largely been fueled by internationals,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “WorldFest is a terrific way to celebrate and experience Louisville’s diverse and vibrant cultures.”

Admission to WorldFest is free all four days because of Passport Health Plan, and other sponsors’ generous support.

“Passport is proud to once again sponsor WorldFest, which helps recognize the diverse community in which we live, work, and play,” said Passport Health Plan CEO Mark Carter. “Louisville is known for having a vibrant mix of people representing different backgrounds and cultures. Together with our community partners and healthcare providers, we can help all Louisvillians live healthier, happier lives.”

WorldFest highlights include:

  • Global Village – A kaleidoscope of Louisville’s culture, where you can interact with representatives of more than 20 nations. All nine of Louisville’s Sister Cities will be represented again this year. Located on the Overlook.
  • WorldFest Children’s Area – Will feature activities from WKU’s Confucius Institute, Home Depot and Parks & Recreation’s Rec on the Go all located on the Overlook on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Parade of Cultures – On Saturday at noon, more than 50 units will march from Metro Hall to 6th Street to Main Street to the Belvedere wearing traditional attire in this colorful showcase of heritage and cultures from around the world. The parade is presented by the UK Confucius Institute.
  • Stella Biergarten – This new feature on the Overlook will feature a selection of international and domestic beers, plus a great view of the festival.
  • WorldFest Selfie Station – Nestled within the Stella Biergarten on the Overlook, this photo opportunity spot offers a sweeping view of all the WorldFest activities to share on social media.
  • World of Information – A one-stop shop showcasing international agencies and services available to all immigrants and citizens. Located on the West Lawn.
  • Naturalization Ceremony – A Naturalization Ceremony where more than 300 immigrants will become full U.S. citizens will take place the following Friday, Sept. 7 at the Muhammad Ali Center.

Hosted by the WKU Confucius Institute for a second year, the children’s area on the Overlook will include more than 20 interactive activities highlighting specific aspects of the Chinese culture, including: calligraphy lessons, fan painting and Tai Chi demonstrations. Children can stop by the Home Depot tent to participate in construction projects.

WorldFest has been recognized by the International Festival and Events Association as among the best in North America. In 2011, it was named a Top Ten Fall Festival by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association, and in 2015, the International Festival and Event Association named Louisville the Top Festival City in North America.

In addition to Passport Health Plan’s Gold Sponsorship, WorldFest is brought to you by:  Silver Sponsors – Kentucky Lottery, Stella Artois, ValuMarket, Western Kentucky University Confucius Institute and the University of Kentucky Confucius Institute. Bronze Sponsors – Anthem Medicaid, CareSource, Ford and Papa Murphy’s. Media Sponsors – Al Dia, Louisville Public Media, Outfront Media and WLKY.

For more information about WorldFest, visit Let us know if you plan to attend, via our Facebook event page. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AroundLou!

When You Visit:

WorldFest runs through Labor Day weekend, Friday through Monday, on the Belvedere, at Fifth and Main streets. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Sunday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. Admission is free; international food, spirits, beer and crafts available for purchase. Parking is available on nearby streets, below the Belvedere in the Riverfront Garage. Street parking is free after 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and all day Sunday and Monday.  Additional parking garages and lots are also nearby.

Naturalization Ceremony: Friday, Sept. 7 at the Muhammad Ali Center. Parade of Cultures:  Saturday, Sept. 1, Noon. Parade assembles at Metro Hall, and begins at 6th & Market streets, heading north to Main Street to the Belvedere, ending at the Overlook Stage.

Overlook Activities (Top of the Belvedere): Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 1-2, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. This area includes the Global Village and the WorldFest Children’s Activities.  The Overlook Stage and Stella Biergarten will be open Friday through Monday.

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