Kent festival celebrates diversity and culture

By Izzy Anderson - Staff Reporter

Experience a variety of cultures through music, food, entertainment and dance at the Kent International Festival this Saturday.

The ShoWare Center is hosting the 9th annual Kent International Festival on June 3 at 625 W. James St., Kent. 

It is an all-day event, going from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The purpose of this festival is to immerse yourself in and celebrate cultures from all across the globe, said Festival Director Nancy Skipton.

As of last year, Kent has been officially ranked as the 18th most diverse city in the U.S., with 40 percent of its population speaking a language besides English. 

"Many cultural festivals celebrate one culture, or they celebrate a series of different cultures separately. We bring all cultures living in Kent and South King County together all in one place and on one day," said Skipton.

You can do this through the many events they have set up for the day. 

These include crafts, booths, concerts, a food court, several stage performances, and the World Wide Walk. 

The World Wide Walk is a walk that anyone attending this festival can participate in.

The meaning behind this walk is to show the unity represented by people of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, strolling side by side. 

The walk starts at 9:30 a.m. and begins at the Town Square Plaza, which is at the opening of the Kent Farmer's Market. 

"Attendees have told us that they feel more a part of the Kent community after participating in our festival. They say they have a greater understanding and respect for other cultures around them," said Skipton. 

Booths are also covering a large array of information and introductions to cultures from all around such as Japanese, Norwegian, African, Ethiopian, Iranian, Chinese, and more.

An art exhibit will be present too, with pieces entered by art students and their teachers in the Kent School District, all given the theme "Learn from Each Other."

Of course, music and dance will also accompany the festival.

Performances will cover the Arena stage from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Concourse stage from 10:20 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Plaze stage from 10:30 a.m. to 4:35 p.m. 

These performances include  belly dancing, Irish step dance, live K-Pop, Taiko drums, a fencing demonstration, and much more.

The World Dance Party is going from 5 to 6:35 p.m. and the finale concert is from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The Kent International Festival is completely free, the only exception being if you would like to buy food, which is $5. 

For more information on the festival and its events, visit

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