For the first time since the pandemic, Wyandotte County’s popular Ethnic Festival returns Apr. 15 & 16, hosted by the Kansas City Kansas Community College. 

Admission is free and open to the public. The festival offers a broad range of activities for all ages and interests including music, dancing, ethnic foods, and educational tours. The festival’s founder, Karen Hernandez, emphasizes that the event celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of making connections with all members of our human family. 

“The mission of the festival is to foster a climate of inclusiveness promoting relationships and contact among all people,” says Hernadez. “We all love our own cultural traditions. This festival allows us to witness how others love theirs.”

Over 50 organizations and ethnicities will be represented. Ethnic Festival coordinator and retired KCKCC professor Curtis V. Smith, Ph.D., invites the public to enjoy an event that celebrates the cultural diversity of KCK.

“Come and learn about the rich history and traditions of the Delaware and Wyandot tribes, the Quindaro underground railroad, the Hispanic community, Strawberry Hill European culture, and many other ethnicities and cultural communities in our incredibly diverse county,” says Smith. 

Smith expects a significant turnout, saying that approximately 1,000 people attended the festival in 2019, the last year the event was held prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the festival offers free admission and parking, while ethnic food stands will be cash-only.  

The food court will be located in the lobby entrance of the KCKCC Technical Education Center’s multipurpose room. It will feature cuisine from Kenya, Jamaica, Gambia, Hmong, Mexico, Peru, and the vegetable gardens of Wyandotte County.

There’s the Children’s Creative Area for younger visitors, where kids can enjoy magic and balloon artistry from Gene Hernandez, face painting, and henna organized by KCKCC art gallery director Shai Perry. While not visible from the children’s creative area, the main festival’s entertainment will be broadcast on a big screen, so parents don’t miss a moment. 

The festival’s entertainment lineup will feature a variety of cultural performances, including:

  • Mavka Ukrainian Dancers
  • Hvartski Obicaj Croatian String Orchestra
  • Irish Dancers
  • Kolograd East European Trio
  • Gamelan Indonesian Dancers 
  • Fiesta Mexicana Dancers 
  • Nartan Dancers of India 
  • Peruvian Dancers 
  • Tez and Tam’s Gospel Music 
  • German Dancers 
  • Chinese Folk Dance
  • The Soul Captives Reggae band
  • Arab Dancers
  • The Dancers of Burundi
  • Rizz Illuminated performing eclectic world music 

The Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival takes place at the Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center Multi-Purpose Room on 6565 State Avenue. The festival hours are Sat, Apr 15, from 11 a.m to 5:30 p.m. and Sun, Apr. 16, from 12 to 5 p.m. The festivities begin Apr. 15, leading off at 11 a.m. with Shawn Derritt singing “America the Beautiful.”