Tuesday, April 2, 2013

8th Annual WyCo Ethnic Festival set for KCKCC on April 13


Music, dancing, ethnic foods, educational cultural booths and plenty of children’s activities will fill the Field House at Kansas City Kansas Community Saturday, April 13, for the 8th Annual “Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival: A Human Family Reunion.”

More than 45 countries, ethnicities and organizations affiliated with Wyandotte County will be represented at the festival, which will be held from 11a.m.- 6 p.m. The festival is open to the public without charge and parking is also free.

This will be the third year for the successful silent auction organized by free-lance writer and photographer Bettse Folsom. Silent auction donations and tax deductible contributions can be made at the door to the WyCo Ethnic Festival, Inc.

This year’s event will also feature two “Legends of Diversity” awards to be presented to Carol Levers, Director of the Kansas City, Kan., Public Library, and Helen Walsh Folsom, who will have copies of her recently published book, “Fianna, The Dark Web of the Brotherhood,” a story about Ireland at her Irish-American culture booth.

“This is a great educational and community building event for people who live, work, attend schools or have ties to Wyandotte County,” says Dr. Curtis V. Smith, Professor of Biological Sciences at KCKCC, one of the organizers of the festival.

According to the co-founder of the event in 2006, former college trustee Karen Hernandez, The Human Family Reunion is “Designed to foster a climate of inclusiveness, promote better human relations and educate each other about common humanity.”

The festival was introduced to celebrate Wyandotte County’s greatest asset – its diversity and all the unique culture of people in the county and Kansas City area.

According to Hernandez, who is now an event sponsor, “The festival is grounded in Martin Luther King’s vision of what being part of a ‘Beloved Community’ meant – equal opportunity and justice built on a solid foundation of agape or brotherly love.”

Back again as the perennial Master of Ceremonies, Clarence Small warns the community not to miss the start of the festival as Shawn Derritt, a counselor at KCKCC and brilliant professional singer, will kick off the event at 11 a.m. sharp with “The Star Spangled Banner” followed by a rousing spiritual version of “America the Beautiful” accompanied by Alice Jenkins.

The Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department will present the Color Guard.

New to the festival will be Caribbean music provided by Danny Hinds and Ayotunde; Cherokee native Terry Lee Whetstone, who will play flute; and the popular reggae band from St. Louis, “Soul Captives” which will perform from 4:30-6 p.m. Fresh vegetarian and Tanzanian dishes will be available for the “dinner finale.”

Notable returnees will include the Harvatski Obicaj Croatian Orchestra; Nartan Dancers from India; the ever-popular West of Marrakesh Dancers; Los Bailadores Mexican Dancers; local rap artist Roger Suggs; Tikvah Israeli Folk Dancers; two Jim Stafford directed choirs; and the Driscoll School of Irish Dance.

Nearly 25 countries will be represented at the food court which will feature soul food, vegetarian, Italian, Greek, Mexican, Peruvian, Tanzanian and specialty coffees.

Gambia, South Korea, Kenya and Albania are new countries being represented this year.  Jazzees LLC will sell a low sodium barbeque sauce while fresh purified filter water and mint tea without charge.

Special educational presentations will be made by the Wyandot Nation of Kansas, the Quindaro Museum of History, the Agricultural Hall of Fame, the Wyandotte Historical Journal of Wyandotte County, and Chinese Qugong and Tai Chi demonstrations.

In addition, an outdoor Creative Children’s tent supervised by Barbara Clark-Evans, Director of the KCKCC Intercultural Center, will feature entertainment, crafts and balloons along with characters from the KC Renaissance Festival and Gateway Highsteppers at 3 p.m.

“The Festival would not be possible without the generous support of the community college and community sponsors,” said Smith. “Their support makes everything possible and the committee extends its heartfelt appreciation.”

Community sponsors include Dr. Doris Givens, President of KCKCC, Unified Government Human Relations Commission and Community Development Department; Board of Public Utilities, KCKCC Endowment Association, Wyandotte Daily News/Providence Building, Dos Mundos Publications, United Auto Workers Local 31 and A co-founder of the festival, Melanie Scott.

For more information on the Festival and/or to become a sponsor or contributor to the Silent Auction, visit http://www.freewebs.com/wycoethnicfestival/