LouisvilleKY WorldFest Offers Four Days of International Food, Music, Culture on Labor Day Weekend


15th annual event will run Sept. 1-4 at the Belvedere

LOUISVILLE  – WorldFest, one of the region’s largest international festivals, will take place this Labor Day weekend for its 15th year, with four days of international food, music, dance and culture starting Sept. 1 at the downtown Belvedere.

More than 70 local and regional entertainers will offer a variety of music, dance styles and beats, ranging from African drumming to reggae to Indian, Celtic, Arabic, Latin, Caribbean music and more.

Headliner acts will include Toby Foyeh & Orchestra Africa, Cheili Minucci & the EFK All Stars with Karen Briggs, Billy Goat Strut Revue, Cosa Seria, Afro Physicists, and The British Invasion.

More than 100 vendors will participate, with 30-plus food vendors serving a global sampling of cuisine and culture.

“Louisville is a welcoming community, a community that values the immigrants and refugees who help make us grow as a city in so many ways,” Mayor Greg Fischer said today, in announcing this year’s event. “Our diversity is on proud display during the WorldFest weekend, and I encourage everyone to come out and experience all the world has to offer, right here in our own downtown.”


Admission to WorldFest is free all four days because of Western Kentucky University Confucius Institute and Passport Health Plan’s generous support.

“The Confucius Institute at WKU (CI at WKU) is very excited to partner with the Mayor’s office to support this event,” said the institute’s Terrill Martin.  “Last year was the first year that the CI at WKU participated in the event, and it was phenomenal.  We wanted to be a bigger presence this year, which is why we are a ‘Gold’ sponsor.

“What a great platform for us to share the Chinese culture and language to the communities we serve,” Martin said.

“Passport Health Plan is proud to once again sponsor the WorldFest event in downtown Louisville,” said Jill Bell, its Vice President, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer. “This amazing international festival highlights so many of the wonderful and diverse people who make Louisville such a fun and exciting place to live, work and play.”

In addition to music, food and dancing, other highlights include:

  • The Global Village – A kaleidoscope of Louisville’s culture, where you can interact with representatives of more than 20 nations. All nine of Louisville’s Sister Cities will be represented again this year.
  • The WorldFest Children’s Area – Will feature activities from WKU’s Confucius Institute, as well as Home Depot.
  • Parade of Cultures – Will showcase the multicultural diversity of our unique city.
  • Chinese Cultural experience – Mobile Unit in front of The Kentucky Center.

The festival includes a naturalization ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday, where more than 300 immigrants will become full U.S. citizens, and a colorful Parade of Cultures at noon on Saturday.

New this year, the children’s activities have expanded to include more than 20 interactive activities highlighting specific aspects of the Chinese culture like calligraphy lessons, fan painting and Tai Chi demonstrations. In addition, the Confucius Institute will have its Chinese Cultural experience mobile unit on display in front of the Kentucky Center for the Arts. This 40-foot RV is retrofitted to serve as a Chinese museum on wheels.

Along with the Chinese Cultural experience, the Global Human Project has registered more than 1,000 middle school and high school students to take part in the Walk-A-Mile in My Shoes Immigration Simulation on Friday, Sept. 1. Students will play the roles of immigrants and will encounter the hardships that are common to refugees.

On Sunday, Sept. 3, WorldFest will offer a Job expo from 1 to 7 p.m. on the west lawn between The Kentucky Center and the Main Stage. This is a great opportunity for community members to connect with hiring managers from a number of employers in our area.

The International Festival and Events Association has recognized WorldFest as among the best in North America. In 2011, it was named a Top Ten Fall Festival by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association, and in 2015, the International Festival and Event Association named Louisville the Top Festival City in North America.

WorldFest is free to the public because of its generous sponsors. Signature Gold Sponsors: Western Kentucky University Confucius Institute and Passport Health Plan. Silver Sponsors: Kentucky Lottery and ValuMarket. Bronze Sponsors:  The Muhammad Ali Center, Al Dia, Anthem Medicaid, CareSource, Ford/UAW, Stella Artois, and WLKY. Contributing Sponsors: Erie Insurance, El Kentubano, The Galt House Hotel, Global Human Project, The Home Depot, Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Louisville Public Media, Outfront Media and UPS.

For more information about WorldFest, visit www.worldfestlouisville.com. Let us know if you plan to attend, via our Facebook event page. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AroundLou!


If You Go:

WorldFest runs through Labor Day weekend on the Belvedere, at Fifth and Main streets. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. FridaySunday11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. Admission is free; international food, spirits, beer and crafts available for purchase. Parking is available on nearby streets, and street parking is free after 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and all day Sunday and Monday. Several parking garages and lots are also nearby.

Naturalization Ceremony: Friday, Sept. 1, 1 p.m., Muhammad Ali Center.

Parade of Cultures:  Saturday, Sept. 2, Noon. Parade begins near Metro Hall at Fifth Street and Jefferson, then goes north on Fifth to the Belvedere, ending at the Main Stage on the Belvedere’s West Lawn.

Overlook Plaza (Top of the Belvedere): Saturday & Sunday, September 2-311 a.m. – 6 p.m. This area includes the Global Village and the WorldFest Children’s Activities.

Job expo: Sunday, Sept. 3 from 1 to 7 p.m., west lawn between the Kentucky Center for the Arts and the Main Stage.

Official Entertainment Schedule:

Fountain Stage

Friday, Sept. 1

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Recorded international music

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Desperados Steel Band

1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Recorded International Music

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Studio Belly Dance & Friends

6:30 – 7:15 p.m. Nachale Bollywood

7:15 – 8:00 p.m. PMA

8:15 – 9:00 p.m. Big Poppa Stampley

9:30 – 11:00 p.m. The Ark Band

Saturday, Sept. 2

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Recorded International Music

12:00  – 12:45 p.m. PARADE OF CULTURES

1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Chinese Dance With Cheryl Pan

1:45 – 2:15 p.m. Imani Dance Company

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Weiling Group

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. Argentine Tango Dance Society

3:45 – 4:15 p.m. River City Raqs Belly Dance

4:15 – 5:00 p.m. Hawaiian Hulan & Ori Tahiti of Louisville

5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Fred “Yellowknife” Keams & Nizhoni Skys

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Keen Dance Company

6:00 – 6:30 p.m. Cardinal K Pop Dance Team

6:30 – 6:45 p.m. Smitha Paily- Natya Kendra

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Mr. Wonderful Productions Band

8:15 – 9:15 p.m. Screaming Orphans

9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Cosa Seria

Sunday, Sept. 3

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Recorded International Music

12:30 – 1:15 p.m. Misha Feigin

1:30 – 2:15 p.m. Korean American Student Association

2:30 – 3:15 p.m. McClanahan School of Irish Dance

3:15 – 4:00 p.m. Celtica Fae

4:15 – 5:15 p.m. Guilderoy Byrne

5:30 – 6:15 p.m. Flamenco Talk

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Hermanos Latin Fusion Band

7:15 – 9:15 p.m. Basel & the Supernaturals

9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Toby Foyeh & Orchestra Africa

Monday, Sept. 4

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Recorded International Music

1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Long Phang Nguyen

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Swing 39

2:30 – 3:15 p.m. Latin Louisville

3:30 – 4:15 p.m. Latin Fusion

4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Billy Goat Strut Revue


Main Stage

Friday, Sept. 1

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Recorded International Music

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The Zydewinders

1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Recorded International Music

5:00 – 5:45 p.m. German-American Club Prosit Singers

6:00 – 6:45 p.m. River City Drum Corp

6:45 – 7:30 p.m. Dick Sisto & the AHA Trio

7:30 – 8:15 p.m. Mike Tracy & Hora Certa

8:30 – 9:15 p.m. Alma Gitana

9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Carley Johnson

Saturday, Sept. 2

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Recorded International Music

12:00 – 12:45 p.m. PARADE OF CULTURES

1:00 – 1:30 p.m.  Louisville Pipe Band

1:30 – 2:00 p.m.  Belize Dance Intermix

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. p.m.  Louisville Lion Dance

2:30 – 3:15 p.m. Safiyyah Dance

3:30 – 4:15 p.m. Gio “El” Futuro

4:15 – 4:45 p.m. Gypsies of Nile

5:00 – 5:45 p.m. Salsa Rhythms Band

6:00 – 6:45 p.m. Flamenco Louisville

7:15 – 8:00 p.m. Appalatin

8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Afro Physicists

9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Cheili Minucci & the EFK All Stars with Karen Briggs

Sunday, Sept., 3

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Recorded International Music

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Squeezebot

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. Keltricity

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. Hewn from the Mountain

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Ut Gret

4:30 – 5:00 p.m. The “Ville” Casineras

5:15 – 6:00 p.m. Wilmer & Miguel

6:15 – 7:00 p.m. Salsa Rhythms Band

7:15 – 8:00 p.m. Appalatin

8:15 – 9:00 p.m. Kentucky Salsa All Stars

9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Milenio

Monday, Sept., 4

12:00 – 12:45 p.m. Recorded International Music

12:45 – 1:15 p.m. Destined Dance Company

1:15 – 1:45 p.m. Mexico Lindo

1:45 – 2:30 p.m. Louisville OORF Ensemble

2:45 – 3:15 p.m. Lost Tribe of Louisville

3:30 – 6:00 p.m. The British Invasion