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Immigrant and refugee food festival planned for October

“#BreakingBarriersByBreakingBread” is the motto of an immigrant and refugee food festival planned for noon to 5 p.m. on Oct. 14 in Canton Waterfront Park.

“[Culture] brings people together whether it’s food, music, clothing, festivals — it’s meeting new people during this very divisive time,” said festival co-organizer Taylor Jenkins, 27.

Jenkins, who works with a refugee resettlement agency in Baltimore, said he hopes to continue the festival annually to celebrate the city’s diversity of food, music and art.

“We feel that food is a great introductory piece, but it can be supported by other types of art, as well,” he said. “We’re trying to hit this theme from all angles.”

BeMaeva, the headliner, is a *Malagasy band that Jenkins saw perform at Artscape. Krish Vignarajah,a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and immigrant, will speak at the festival.

Jenkins, who organized the event with his high school friend Daniel Bright, was inspired by his own experiences and his family’s move from Trinidad and Tobago to the United States.

“Growing up, I’ve heard many different stories about my family coming here and having hardships at the beginning, but those were quelled by having a warm, welcoming community that set them up for success,” the Owings Mills resident said.

Jenkins said those lessons are what prompted him to work with refugees as an adult. Through the festival, he hopes to give immigrant and refugee families a platform for their food and art.

“These immigrant chefs and refugees, they may not have the same kind of budget other restaurants or chefs have when they’re starting out,” he said. “We knew if we truly wanted to help them we couldn’t take vendor fees.”

Jenkins said ticket sales are the only revenue the festival will take in. Tickets are available at an early-bird price of $10 until Sunday. After, general admission is $15 online and $20 at the door.

The roughly 20 food vendors include Philippines-inspired Calasag Pop Up and Upper Fells Point Mexican spot Cocina Luchadoras.

The festival will be held rain or shine, and although there will be some tents and seating, Jenkins encourages attendees to bring blankets and lawn chairs.

The food vendors include:

Calasag Pop-Up (Filipino)

Cocina Luchadoras (Mexican)

Damascus Kitchen (Syrian)

Green Grass Tall Trees (Haitian)

Caribbean Food Store (Trinidadian)

Cazbar/Homeslyce (Turkish-owned)

Paradise Island Cuisine (Jamaican)

Man Vs Pho (Vietnamese)

Halal Brothers (Middle Eastern)

Mexican Folkloric Traditions (Mexican)

Henrietta B (East African)

La Calle (Mexican)

Bountiful Sweetness Bakehouse (Filipino)

Sultan Food Truck (Indian/Pakistani)

Judy's Island Grill (Jamaican)

Thai Street (Thai)

Bombay Kitchen Food Truck (Indian)

Syriana Cafe & Gallery (Syrian)

Madiha Catering (Syrian)

The artists include:

Alejandra Nunez

Mexican Folkloric Traditions

TortillaGurl

Nadia Rea Morales

Ariel Cavalcante Foster

Aayesha the Mehendi Wali

Joanna Nanajian

Non profits include:

Up and Forward Foundation

Latino Providers Network

Black Girls Cook Inc

Musicians include:

Nikilad

EN'B

Ducky Dynamo

BeMaeva (an acoustic set)

*Clarification: This story has been updated to include the preferred denizen descriptor for the BeMaeva band.

amuckerman@baltsun.com

twitter.com/annamuckerman

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