Living & Entertainment

Ethnic Fest returns to Wright Park this weekend

This weekend is the one weekend of the year when Wright Park’s usual theme of baseball caps and fedoras gives way to sombreros, babushkas and crowns made of flowers and leaves.

Ethnic Fest, a quarter-century tradition, returns to Wright Park on Saturday and Sunday with culture, entertainment and food from around the world. The festival celebrates the diversity of Pierce County’s ethnic groups.

“I have so many wonderful memories of this festival,” said Lori Raisch, the coordinator for the event that is put on by Metro Parks Tacoma, the City of Tacoma and a large group of volunteers.

Two stages will host close to 30 acts of entertainment.

“Some of the groups have really young children on the stage, sometimes with their grandparents. I love that passing of the torch,” Raisch said. “And if you turn your eyes toward the audience, you see the wide range of diversity.”

When not performing in or watching the entertainment, children can gather in the Kids Zone where puppet shows and a drum circle will keep them entertained.

At dusk on Saturday night, the “The Lego Movie” (rated PG; 1:40) will be shown on an outdoor screen. A few of the 25 food vendors at the festival will stay open late for the movie.

“The food is amazing. It’s a culinary trip around the world in Wright Park,” Raisch said. “I’m probably going to gain 10 pounds this weekend. But it’s worth it.”

Food booths and trucks sell Texas barbecue, Cajun, French, soul food, Caribbean, Indian, Hawaiian, dim sum, Mexican, Filipino, paella, Philly cheese steak and pizza.

One of Ethnic Fest’s hallmarks is its large number of representatives from non-profit organizations – around 70 this year. “I don’t know where in one place in the one day you can find so many agencies,” Raisch said.

Finally, the activity that unites all cultures – shopping – will be in full force.

“It’s my favorite festival to shop at. There’s a unique mix of objects from all over the world,” Raisch said.