Kent International Festival unfolds this weekend

The fifth annual Kent International Festival – a celebration of multi-cultural music, entertainment, music, food and art – comes to life at the Kent Town Square Plaza this weekend.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Wednesday, June 19, 2013 5:54pm
  • News
Show of color: Japanese dance and fashion are part of the Kent International Festival.

Show of color: Japanese dance and fashion are part of the Kent International Festival.

By Melanie S. Mosshart
For the Kent News

The fifth annual Kent International Festival – a celebration of multi-cultural music, entertainment, music, food and art – comes to life at the Kent Town Square Plaza this weekend.

The festival opens with a World Dance Party on Friday night at the Kent Senior Center, 600 E. Smith St. It's an opportunity for everyone at every age to enjoy international dances presented in traditional culture and costume.

It is free to the public.

Sponsored jointly by Project U(th) and the Kent International Committee, the World Dance Party starts at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 9. Food and beverages are available for purchase.

The festival continues with A Generations Walking Together event at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, which takes walkers from City Hall four blocks to Town Square Plaza across from the Kent Regional Library.

The free festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Town Square Plaza, Second and Smith streets.

More than 25 different groups will perform cultural and native dance, song and instrumentals, flashing a kaleidoscope of colorful costumes and unique acts on stage.

The festival offers the exotic tastes from nine different and diverse food booths. Children can visit 27 cultural booths to participate in engaging crafts and activities before having their passports stamped. Children can continue to the passport booth and collect prizes.

Several local groups will perform.

The Kent-Meridian Choir will perform the national anthem to kick of festivities Saturday. The Elliott Bay Bagpipe Band and Christian Skoorsmith will lead the Generation Walk.

Bridging the Seas will dance to the distinct Punjabi beat with a hint of Bollywood for good measure. Rosin in the Aire will play blue grass and country music. Mak Fai Washington Kung Fu Club will perform the popular Lion Dance, a colorful and unique form of martial arts.

The festival welcomes the Blue Heron Heritage Family from the Snohomish Tribe sharing stories, songs and dance from their native culture. The Balefire Irish Dancers return for the fifth year, bringing the clogging from a traditional Irish culture.

The Acacia Foundation, a Turkish American group, will perform a folk dance ritual from the eve of a Turkish Wedding Night.

According to Dave Mortenson, festival chairman, the event has grown to 300 performers. About 180 volunteers will work the 27 cultural booths and more than 300 local organizational volunteers will work throughout the festival, he said.

Organizers expect 3,000 to 5,000 people to attend.

Free parking is available at the Kent Station and City Hall garages as well as along the streets.

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