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Festival for everyone

Ethnic Fest multicultural festival fills Wright Park this weekend

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“When you see a Russian family dancing along with Polynesian dancers or an Asian family swinging to reggae, only then do you get a real flavor for what Ethnic Fest was designed to do,” says Metro Parks spokeswoman Nancy Johnson.

The multicultural festival takes place in Wright Park this Saturday and Sunday. Among the many booths featuring art, fashion, food and goods from all corners of the world will be two stages featuring music and dancing.

“Tacoma‘s demographic makeup is always evolving,” says Johnson. “Many cultures represented in our community today did not have a large presence when the festival began, so it expanded and incorporated representation from as many ethnic groups as possible every year. We really try to make sure we include as much diversity as possible.”

An impressive line-up of entertainers is scheduled to perform. The Multicare Main Stage Saturday presents the African All Stars, Rumbeggae, Maya Soleil, Taiko Drums, Ocho Pies, Teine Tama Samoa and Bakra Bata.

The Comcast/Key Bank Community Stage on Saturday will present the Roosevelt Dancers, Jug of Punch, PAYO, Owl Child Society, Shadaroba and Los DeRio.

Sunday the Multicare Main Stage has The Islanders, Balidores De Bronce, Michael Powers, Shin Puli, Junkyard Jane, Vamola and Alex Duncan.

The Comcast/Key Bank Community Stage on Sunday has Kabuki Academy, Amber Tide, Re-Encuentro Cultural, Christ Life Center, All Nations Praise Team, Navel Davis and the Roosevelt Heights Mass Choir, Latter Reign Ministries and DaNell Raymon and Royalty.

“We are really honored to have a group of cultural ambassadors, Shin Puli Poong Mul Dan, who are traveling to the U.S. from Korea,” says Johnson. “They are a very visual performing group who will be meeting with Gov. Gregoire as part of their visit.”

The Fun Zone, an area especially designed for families, will have hands-on art activities from Japan, Mexico and Africa. It also has its own entertainment line up including a 40-minute drum circle show, musical entertainment by Congo Productions and a hip-hop dance performance by DASH.

“Having produced the festival for the last eight years,” says Johnson, “There is something particularly exciting about watching it all come together and then unfold as our entire community celebrates what makes this area so special.”

[Wright Park, July 28-29, noon to 7 p.m., 316 S. G St., Tacoma,]

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