Leftridge: Ethnics Descend On Swope Park and Bring Food, Napkins

What’s up, dude? What are you doing this weekend? Bringing your mom home? Really?! It’s been 3 to 5 years already? Wow. Time flies.

Well, hey, I was gonna ask– when’s the last time you had authentic Siberian cuisine? You know, puréed polar bear loin? Oh, what? Never? Geez. Okay, well what about goat-face stew from Haiti? Oh… well did you like it? That’s cool.

Anyway, I was gonna say- if you’re not too busy, we should totally hit up the 43rd Annual Ethnic Enrichment Festival* at Swope Park. See, what happens is, a bunch of ethnic people get together– like, a TON of ethnic people– Cambodians, Irish, islanders of varied hue, and they set up a bunch of booths, and then they peddle their native eats.

Like, the Ethopians have Doro Wot (chicken stew with assorted spices) and Gomen (collard greens, yo!). And the Norwegians have Kringla, Ableskiver and Kronsekage. You LOVE a good Kringla, bro. Lithuania has something delightful sounding called “Bacon Buns.” YES and PLEASE.

This picture is a few years old, so there is no promise that the fella on the right will be in attendance.

And then, for some weird ass reason, the Native Americans sell popcorn and Hawaii– home of poi and pineapple and various Spam infused creations– sells shaved ice and bottled water.

You know, because when I think of Hawaii, I think of sno-cones and Dasani.

According to my kick-ass KCC tipsters (huh?) there are 55 different countries represented throughout the three day long proceedings. That’s impressive. I’m hard pressed to even NAME 55 different countries. I could try, but that would just waste precious bandwidth and would grow embarrassing after I ran out of names around Turkey and started making shit up.

What do you mean Plaquemanistan isn’t real? It was on the video that they show in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, goddamnit!!!

And if you don’t like ethnic food, there are all kinds of performances. Irish stomp-dancing, or whatever it’s called– and lots of Caribbean people in various started of undress performing authentic calypso shit.

Oh, and there’s a fucking beer-garden too, because everyone knows that you can’t have a good time without beer, especially if you’re in the park, surrounded by sweaty Malaysian gents in butterfly-collared, polyester garb.

Best of all, it’s cheap. It’s $3.00 in advance (note: you cannot buy tickets in advance) or $3.00 at the door. Kids under 12 get in free (note: I don’t know how they check this. 12 year olds do not have IDs. If you’re short, perhaps you can convince the ticket-taker that you’re 12. Just shave first, and don’t smoke cigarettes on your way up to the gate).  The food costs money at each booth, but the plates are smaller and the prices are appropriately decent.

Look, I’m obviously making ha-has here and there, but I’ve been to the Ethnic Enrichment Festival several times throughout the years, and I’ve never failed to enjoy myself. And the weather will be perfect. And Glazer will be doing some sort of belly-dance, I’m told. Drunk and in the parking lot. Not part of the actual festival, but still.

The festivities resume at noon today, and go until 10pm tonight. Tomorrow, it’s noon to 6pm. I’ll be there today around opening. Look for the confused looking white guy wearing a shirt and pants. I also have hair. If you see me, come say hi. I’ll buy you an aggressively foreign beer at the Beer Garden, or as they say in Hawaii, “Beer Garden.”

For more menu info, and a performance schedule (I forgot to mention the Vietnamese Youth Group Dragon Dance!) visit the Ethnic Enrichment Festival website.

*Definitely has NOT happened 43 times (actually—it started in 1976… see what happened there? I tried to make a hilarious exaggeration and it jumped up and bit me in the ass. I had no idea that it’s been going on since before I was born. Outstanding.

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18 Responses to Leftridge: Ethnics Descend On Swope Park and Bring Food, Napkins

  1. Super Dave says:

    Have been to this several times and it is a fun event to attend. Great way so spend a Saturday which to me is the best day to go, take your time and enjoy it all.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Absolutely. I just got back and I’m painfully full. Lots of good stuff.

      Haiti won, in my opinion. Fried plantains, hunks of pork shoulder and some sort of spicy cabbage slaw. Awesome.

      • Super Dave says:

        Yes a great place to blow the hell out of a diet or any diet plan you are following.

        But heck a person has to go have fun, eat, drink and be merry once in a while. Then can go play tennis. maybe some platform tennis or work out at the club all day Sunday for doing so on Saturday

  2. smartman says:

    This festival is a joke. If you can’t get some dog, cat or Tonton Macoute prisoner on a stick does it TRULY reflect the worlds culinary choices?

  3. Orphan of the Road says:

    Cheese and crackers Brando, popcorn was a staple of Indians. Although fry bread is the big deal at pow wows.

    I guess everyone went to this instead of the Cowtown Ballroom reunion.

    I’m guessing the white folk’s food was something with mayo on it.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Yeah, I googled the popcorn thing because it seemed so odd, and right you are. And shame on me for not understanding what represents nearly 1/4th of my heritage. They also had fry-bread, which seemed to be selling quite well.

      I didn’t see mayo anywhere, thankfully, though I had something from Serbia that was loaded with sour cream. Cooked sour cream, I might add.

  4. the dude says:

    I wants my fry bread!!!
    I wish I knew about this before I read this just now.

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