Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival


About us

Mission Statement

The mission of WYCO Ethnic Festival is to foster a climate of inclusiveness, promote relationships and contact between people, and educate each other about our common humanity.  Any ethnic group or organization with people who live, work, or have educational ties to Wyandotte County are invited to sell ethnic food, clothing, or other approved items. In addition there will be wonderful dancers, musicians, and vocalists performing traditional ethnic music. There are activities for children and their families under the Creative Children's Area.

About Us

After a 30 year hiatus, the rebirth of the WYCO Ethnic Festival was started anew in 2006.  The idea was that of Ms. Karen Hernandez, a KCKCC Board of Trustee in collaboration with Professor Melanie Scott, the Director of the KCKCC Intercultural Center.  Hernandez believes the more we get to know our neighbors, the better we come to understand each other, and "Reclaim our Common Humanity." With the many challenges facing the global population of humans, it is easy to become disillusioned. We often forget to simply stop and rethink the overpowering tendency to become negative and retool our brains by making positive connections with all members of our human family, our brothers and sisters, from all parts of the world.

Karen Hernandez took her inspiration from the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King who asserted that making connections between people is the first step in making our world a more peaceful place. King referred to this vision as "Our Beloved Community" where people gather together and listen to each other in order to reach a better understanding of what we all have in common that is good.  King believed people could eventually learn to live together peacefully.  The festival is a way to cherish the extraordinary diversity of WYCO while also celebrating our common humanity. Moreover, it is a way to create a climate of peace, justice, and unity, so vital to the sustainability of humans on Earth.  She, and her husband Gene, will have a wonderful educational culture booth about the life of Dr. King.


Another big influence on the festival comes from Professor Ed Chasteen, the "Pedalin' Prof" from William Jewell College, who passed away in 2022. That's the name Disneyland gave him when he arrived after pedaling over 5,000 miles across America alone and without money.  Ed was told he couldn't be active over 35 years ago because he had multiple sclerosis, but he keep pedalin' and facing down hate. Ed was founder of HateBusters and the Human Family Reunion at William Jewell.


The rebirth of WYCO Ethnic Festival was forecast with the origin of the KCKCC Intercultural Center in 1996.  It was renamed the Center for Equity, Inclusion and Multiculturalism in 2021. The impetus for "The Center" came from faculty and administration at the college, most notably Dr. Morteza Ardebili, Melanie Scott, Dr. Charles Reitz, Dr. Delores Pinkard, and Dr. Janice McIntyre. These people were a major force in the multiculturalism movement in higher education.  The founding committee members, which included Dr. Curtis V. Smith, embraced inclusiveness in a powerful way ensuring diversity efforts be permanently incorporated into the institutional fabric of KCKCC. 

Melanie Scott charged one member of the Intercultural Center with the task of organizing the ethnic festival.  Dr. Curtis V. Smith, a Professor of Biology at KCKCC, whose mother is a war-bride from Florence, Italy, took to the task based on his passion for the educational benefits of multicultural awareness.  Smith recognized that the mission of the festival fit with the Mission of the College which is to "provide a multicultural environment that reflects and respects diversity and seeks to increase understanding and appreciation of difference."  The Values Statement of the College is to "commit itself to an appreciation for multicultural education, respect for diversity, and enhancement of positive human relationship among its students, faculty, staff, and the community at large." 

Slowly inclusiveness has taken on many other facets of diversity besides race, class, ethnicity, and now includes age, sexual orientation, and religion. The WYCO Ethnic Festival: A Human Family Reunion" is a natural extension of this idea of inclusiveness, of building community on campus, but not just for a region that is to be served, it is truly working for the purpose of creating a peaceful climate among all humans.

Board Members WyCo Ethnic Festival  (WEF) Inc 2023:

Clarence Small - President and Master of Ceremonies, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Regional Program Manager - Administration for Children and Families.  

Karen Hernandez - Former President of WEF & Former Trustee KCKCC 

Clarence Small - Vice President of WEF and Master of Ceremonies, 

Dr. Curtis V. Smith - Treasurer and Coordinator, Retired Professor of Biology at KCKCC 

Dr. Hira Nair - Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences KCKCC
Dr. Ewa Unoke - Professor of Political Science KCKCC 

Shai Perry - Curator of the Campus Art Gallery

Andrica Wilcoxen, Director of Students Activities KCKCC 

Janel Sanders, Coordinator of Continuing Education & Community Outreach KCKCC 

Recognizing Our Previous Board Members:
Melanie J. Scott - Former Director and Founder of the KCKCC Intercultural Center 

Barbara Clark-Evans - Director of the KCKCC Intercultural Center                

Bettse Folsom - Marketing

Marquis Harris - Coordinator KCKCC Intercultural Center 

Katie Jones - former Coordinator KCKCC Intercultural Center

Karla Moriera - former Coordinator KCKCC Intercultural Center 

Bill Yeazel - Director of the KCKCC Theater /Entertainment