Ethnic Fest 2022 was a worldly if complicated display
Last weekend, Swope Park witnessed the return of the Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Festival (better known as Ethnic Fest). The emcees stated that Saturday’s turnout was the largest single-day attendance record in the festival’s history, making for a stunning revitalization since COVID.
Over 60 different nations were represented at this year’s event. On top of the usual outstanding food, there were vendors, a beer garden, and a children’s zone. The stage highlighted performances from each country, which included traditional dances and regional music.
Saturday afternoon’s “Parade of Flags” introduced and honored every nation that had participated in the festival. There had been issues with the microphone and sound system throughout the day.
Just before the “Parade of Flags” began, everyone rose to sing the U.S. “National Anthem.” The version played was from a YouTube video of the late Whitney Houston’s 1991 Super Bowl XXV performance. This seemed a little out of place as it was right before the group labeled “American Indians” took the stage. Anyone who knows anything about U.S. history can see the problems there, especially when three different nations were lumped into one category.
As the three members representing the entire Native American population came to the microphone, a shirt appeared that showed a black and white image of Native American warriors and text that read “Homeland Security: Fighting Terrorism since 1492.”
Plans for the return of the event are already underway for next year.