Being an Ambassador For My Home Country
Every year, Louisville, KY hosts the World Fest, a celebration of culture, food, music, and fun activities. It’s those end-of-summer days many people look forward to where the sunsets transform and the weather is not too hot or cold for a day out in the town. As part of the Peruvian migrant group in Louisville, I walked with my family in the South American parade, representing my home country and getting in touch with my roots.
The experience was pretty amazing. It was incredible to be surrounded by my family and culture and sharing the love for our country to the world. We were, in sorts, ambassadors, representing Peru for the city of Louisville.The Kentucky Travel Industry Association named the World Fest as one of the “Fall Top 10 Festivals and Events” and “one of the region’s largest international festivals” according to the World Fest website. The Mayor of Louisville says, “cities that embrace and encourage their international citizens and cultures will thrive, have a stronger quality of life and will attract new growth and jobs.”
The Courier Journal reported from the city’s marketing and events coordinator, Brent Nelson that, “It’s grown because there’s a demand for it to grow. So many people have wanted more and more and more, and so many people have wanted to get involved with it.” Needless to say, it’s a big and important event for the city of Louisville.
Coming back to my Peruvian roots was an incredible way to reconnect with my birth country. As we walked past the downtown streets, we all felt pride as we held up our flags and shouted our country’s name: el orgullo. We ended at the main stage where all the flags crowded the stage and the Mayor gave a few words on the multiculturalism of Louisville. While not a big city, the World Fest site states that there are “over 100 languages spoken in the Louisville public schools and 35 percent of the city’s population growth over the past 15 years coming from international residents from over 150 different countries throughout the world.” This diversity allowed the World Fest to have a variety of activities. There are two main stages at the World Fest. One held many musicians and speakers while the other provided a platform for many participants to showcase their talents, mostly dancing. When I was present, there were many tango dancers that showed the beauty of Argentinian-Uruguayan originated creations.
Both stages were surrounded by many food vendors. The food was authentic and delicious and we got to try a little bit of everything! In addition to the food, the music and the dancing, World Fest is also lined up with vendors with other purposes and activities. We took my cousin to the Home Depot corner where every year they give away something different for kids to build. There was also an Adelante Hispanic scholarship group along with many other non-profits giving out information and many Henna spots where we got our whole hand painted in different designs.
This beautiful couple includes my friend Hayley and her boyfriend who came to enjoy the festivities along with the rest of the city. Their college is about two hours away, but their presence shows that people come from all over to enjoy the celebrations. Both immigrant and local groups gather together to enjoy the international carnival. Can’t wait to see you at next year’s World Fest!