Ethnic Enrichment Festival

While your idea of the perfect August Saturday might entail snagging the ripest homegrown tomato at the City Market, there’s another event with culinary trappings coming up soon. The Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Festival will return to Swope Park for its 36th annual encampment, Aug. 21-23 bringing with it tasty treats from around the world. More than 40,000 people are expected to attend over the weekend, organizers say.

And the Frazier family of Kansas City is ready. “We’ve been attending the Ethnic Enrichment Festival as a family for about 10 years now,” says Jesse Frazier, who along with his wife, Helen, and two boys Jesse, 13, and Jayden, 6, anticipates its return. And while Dad, the marketing professional, likes to think that the festival’s overall message of acceptance and understanding of other cultures is getting through to the younger set, “It’s really about the food,” he concedes.

“The boys just love Chinese food, so we know what’s going on there,” said Frazier. “Last year I really liked the Indian food that I had, and Helen enjoyed her Italian meal very much. We each like to sample a different country every year.”

“It’s a great way to spend the day,” he said. “For me the highlight is the Parade of Flags, which occurs on Saturday afternoon. We’ll get an Hawaiian ice and cool off with that while we watch it all go by. My wife enjoys the fashion show of all the costumes, which is held on Sunday. There’s live music and other entertainment going on both days,” said Frazier.

This year the festival will boast 52 full booths each showcasing a specific country, according to Vanessa Brandom, office manager of the Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Commission. Each booth is entitled to serve food as well as display and sell appropriate crafts. Menus will reflect cuisines ranging from African American to Vietnamese. All booth proceeds are used by the various not-for-profit organizations that make the effort to show off their cultural pride at the festival.

Admission to the festival grounds is $3 for adults; kids 12 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 6-10 p.m. on Friday, noon-10 p.m. on Saturday and noon-6 p.m. on Sunday. Free parking. For more information check the website: eeckc.net

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