Federal Way Community Festival is coming this summer

Festival is accepting applications for vendors and entertainers with a deadline of April 15.

After a three-year pause, the Federal Way Community Festival (formerly Flavor of Federal Way) will fill Town Square Park with a celebration of what makes the city unique.

The event is scheduled for Aug. 10, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The organizing committee is now seeking businesses and individuals who are interested in sponsoring as well as vendors and entertainers.

“Federal Way will come alive with the sights and sounds of one of the most diverse populations in the region,” the Diversity Commission said in a press release, saying the event will “celebrate the cultures and communities that make the City of Federal Way a vibrant place to live, work and play.”

The event will be a “family-friendly, free festival” featuring “kids’ activities, food vendors, an entertainment stage and exhibitors sharing information about employment opportunities, health care access, financial and educational services and a variety of other business resources from nonprofit organizations to area craft makers.”

The event was first held in 2018 and was created through the Advancing Leadership development program founded by the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce.

Greg Baruso, chair of the Diversity Commission, said in 2018 that the commission came up with the idea while creating its work plan.

“We do different events,” Baruso said of the commission. “Our signature event, of course, is the Martin Luther King celebration. But we wanted to bring something to the city to have a little bit more exposure for the commission, too. … It is a celebration of food, dance and just the diversity of Federal Way itself. We wanted to have something different than everyone else.”

Jessica Cox was one of the Advancing Leadership students working on the Flavor of Federal Way, who said at the time that an event like the Flavor of Federal Way was something the community was missing.

“There is just not a space or an event like this, but there needs to be one because we are one of the most diverse cities in King County,” she said. “There should be a space for us to celebrate that.”

As previously reported in the Mirror, this first iteration of the event saw 55 vendors and six food vendors. In 2019, the festival grew to 11 food vendors and a total of 84 profit and nonprofit vendors, along with 12 performances taking stage throughout the day.

A virtual version took place in 2020, featuring a week of programming including a kickoff announcement of Flavor of Federal Way Week, then announcements of food vendors and sharing of “Flavor Specials,” local area businesses and other vendors, local area nonprofits, local artists and performers, and wrapped with a recap of the Flavor of Federal Way on the last day.

Diversity Commissioner Allison Fine said she encourages new vendors to sign up.

“During the pandemic, so many people started a business from home,” she said. “I’m hoping that we’ll get vendors that have never done a vendor event.”

In the past, applicants were asked how they contribute to the diversity of Federal Way, but the simplified application this year doesn’t ask that question. Instead, it simply asks why they would be a good fit for the community festival.

“We want to promote and highlight marginalized communities,” Fine said. “I don’t want to create barriers … I think a question like that to somebody who maybe English isn’t their first language, or maybe doesn’t see themselves as part of the fabric of diversity…I don’t want them to think that they’re excluded. I want everyone to feel welcome.”

The goal of the event is to “celebrate and experience the cultures from all over the world who reside in our region, to bring us together and help us learn about our neighbors and our heritage.”

“Even after the pandemic, we still spend a lot of time at home,” and this is a chance to “see who lives in our community,” and “their neighbors,” Fine said. “This is an opportunity to come enjoy the day. Bring the kids out, have some cultural experiences.”

Learn more

The Federal Way Community Festival is now accepting applications for vendors and entertainers with a deadline of April 15.

For more information and to request application, email diversity@cityoffederalway.com or call/text Diversity Commissioner Allison Fine at 206-379-1590.

They are currently seeking a variety of “local vendors, entertainers, food trucks/booths and nonprofit organizations.”