HomeNewsEntertainmentJackson International Food and Arts Festival returning in September

Jackson International Food and Arts Festival returning in September

Dr. Sandra Dee and the rest of the leadership of the Jackson International Food and Arts Festival are preparing for the ninth edition of the event, which is set to happen on Sept. 23 with the theme of “The Heartbeat of Jackson, TN.”

It’s on track to be the biggest event yet as Dee said there are more than 80 vendors who’ve already signed up to be a part of the festival.

“We started early and opened registration for vendors in April, and they responded well,” Dee said. “We had 73 vendors last year, so we’ve already surpassed that, and the most we’ve ever had is in the 80s, and that was in 2019.

“Vendors can register until Sept. 8, so with more than a month-and-a-half left for vendors to sign up, there’s a good chance this will be our biggest event yet.”

Dee said there are two differences of note for the festival this year.

The main one is the change of venue.

“The festival has grown so much that it was best for us to move it to the Jackson Fairgrounds, for this year at least,” Dee said. “It’s grown so much that we were blocking off a lot of streets in Downtown Jackson the last couple years.

“So we’re trying it this year at the Fairgrounds and see how that goes. We’ll still have our parade and kids area and everything the festival has had in past years, but it’s all at the Fairgrounds this year.”

The other difference isn’t one that’s as noticeable from the outside, but Dee said she hopes festival attendees who’ve been in past years will notice as well.

“We’ve got more artists coming in as vendors,” Dee said. “And we’re really glad to see that because arts is in the name of the festival, and I think we’ve seen in the last few years that Jackson and the surrounding area has a number of really good artists in different forms, and more of them are coming out to showcase their work with us.”

Dee said she knows of at least 30 countries who were represented at last year’s festival between vendors, performers and attendees.

“It could’ve been more, but we know definitely we had that many,” Dee said. “And that’s what the festival is about – bringing people from different countries and cultures together to show what life is like where they come from and getting to experience different cultures right here in Jackson.

“Because that’s what makes Jackson great – everyone coming together from different places and walks of life to enjoy each other and experience new things.”

The festival will last on Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The parade will feature Ronin Taiko, a Japanese drumming group who’s been a part of the parade in past years and made an impression on festival attendees. They will be performing in the parade with another group, Joe Keit Kung Fu Lion Dance, who is a Chinese drumming group that also incorporates martial arts in their performance.

“This has grown more than we expected it to 10 years ago when we first started putting this together,” Dee said. “We simply wanted to create a day in which we could spread awareness about culture diversity in our town, and the people of Jackson have supported us more and more each year. We’re looking forward to it again this year.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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