Show of color: Kent International Festival shines | Slideshow

Taiko drummers, bagpipes, children garbed in lion headdresses and various cultural displays took center stage Saturday at the fourth annual Kent International Festival.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:41pm
  • News
The Kung Fu Lion Dance Team maneuver its Chinese dragon on center stage at the fourth annual Kent International Festival last Saturday.

The Kung Fu Lion Dance Team maneuver its Chinese dragon on center stage at the fourth annual Kent International Festival last Saturday.

BY ROCHELLE ADAMS
For the Kent News

Taiko drummers, bagpipes, children garbed in lion headdresses and various cultural displays took center stage Saturday at the fourth annual Kent International Festival.

“The theme of the festival is ‘Learn from Each Other,'” said Nancy Skipton, entertainment coordinator for the festival. “So people from different cultures can learn about other cultures. I think once people know about another culture, they have a better appreciation for the differences between people.”

There are more than 140 different languages in Kent, she said. The festival celebrates the cultural diversity within Kent.

About 15 different cultural booths were set up as vendors, Skipton said. There entertainment acts representing about 20 different cultures.

“This is the fourth year we've done the festival,” she said. “It's grown every year since. The first year was very, very successful, amazingly enough for a first year. It's grown since then. The first year we had 12 acts for entertainment, now we're working about 25 different acts.”

The entertainment ranged from Bollywood dancers to taiko drummers to Scottish bagpipes.

Christran Skoorsmith, a member of the Elliott Bay Pipe Band, participated in the festival for the second year in a row, playing the bagpipes.

The event is more successful every year, he said. He thinks attendees get a lot out of both the stage performances and the food court, which allows them to taste foods they wouldn't necessarily be exposed to otherwise.

“I love playing the bagpipe, and I love sharing that part of my culture,” Skoorsmith said. The Kent International Festival is a fantastic opportunity to have everyone to bring out their best and share their differences.”

He performed a series of marches and slow airs. He also allowed audience members to try using the bagpipes as well, so they could see how difficult using the instrument is.

“The audience responded both to the playing and to opportunity to explore and get to know the bagpipes,” Skoorsmith said. “The bagpipe is very distinct, people recognize it, but hardly anyone gets to encounter it up close, to learn how it works. So that's one thing I like to offer people spontaneously.”

Aside from the entertainment, attendees also had the opportunity to try a variety of different foods.

Last year, they added a food court to the event, Skipton said. This year they featured food from six Kent restaurants including Indian, Mexican, Mediterranean, Kenyan, Irish and Japanese food.

Nancy Brown, who served as the food court team leader, said the event is beneficial because it allows attendees to try a variety of foods.

The local restaurants that participated in the event were Punjab Sweets Indian Restaurant, Olive Tree Mediterranean Restaurant, Uhuru Kenyan Restaurant, Mick Kelley's Irish Pub and Restaurant, Saya Japanese and Thai Restaurant and Taqueria El Rinconcito Restaurant.

“It's a great way to try different restaurants,” she said. “Then you can turn around and go to them after you discover how good their food is.”

Annie Brooks attended the event for the first time this year. She said she was particularly looking forward to seeing the musical performances.

“I just think that a lot of the talent are excellent at what they do,” she said. “I've seen it on New Day Northwest, and I just think it's interesting and entertaining because it's something different.”

 




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