Arts and Culture

WorldFest is returning to Louisville’s Belvedere this Labor Day weekend after a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The festival, now in its 19th year, features food, retail booths and performances from communities with global ties.

“WorldFest gives us a real chance to affirm loudly as a community that we celebrate the beauty and talent, richness and heritage that immigrants bring to our great city,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said during a press conference Friday.

Community spread of COVID-19 is greater this summer than it was last year, but Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says he believes holding the event outdoors will make it safer. 

“We all know outside events are the way to go for that,” he said. “Then we’re going to ask people to mask up too when they come here.”

Masks will be encouraged for attendees, but required for vendors, volunteers and staff who deal with the general public. Vendors, staff and volunteers will also be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of opening.

Organizers have also canceled or changed portions of the festival that group many people close together. The Parade of Nations that usually accompanies the festival will not take place and confined gathering areas like the children’s area have been removed.

COVID-19 protocols mean water refill stations will not be available. Forecasters predict a hot weekend, so attendees are encouraged to bring their own water.

The festival was announced just a week before it’s scheduled to open. 

“We’re announcing now because we were trying to say ‘Ok, can we pull this off in a safe, COVID-kind of environment?’” Fischer said.

He said vendors have had “long notice that this is going to happen.” 

The city says next weekend’s WorldFest will feature more than 40 food vendors and almost 100 booths “offering global cuisine and culture.”

Four beer gardens are planned for those ages 21 and over.

Louisville Public Media is an event sponsor.

Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.