Annual Othello International Festival Brings the World to Rainier Valley


By Jordan T. Adams/Runta News-Seattle 

Acclaimed as one of the most authentic multicultural festivals in Seattle, the annual Othello International Festival will convene again this year on Sunday, August 11 from noon to 6:00PM. 

Known to be one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the nation, the Rainier Valley is home to speakers of over 59 different languages from China to Somalia, from the Philippines to Samoa and across the world.  The Othello International Festival brings these communities together to share their music, dance, and artistic traditions under a high canopy of trees in the pastoral setting of Othello Park.  Booths feature local businesses, community organizations, and multi-cultural food vendors surrounding the Park’s beautiful meadow where a dance floor invites attendees to join in the fun and learn from one another.

The Park is located just one short block from the Othello light rail station. Besides filling the Park, the festivities will spill across Othello Street onto the Holly Park Community Church grounds  where the Seattle Police Department will be holding its annual picnic.

            Over recent years, Othello has come to be identified by this unique event with its colorful array of traditional costumes, dance, music, gymnastics, martial arts, giant puppets, petting zoo with camel, big bouncy houses, ethnic food trucks, art creation stations where participants can create their own art works to take home.   “Othello without its Othello International Festival would be like Munich without its October Fest,” said Dick Burkhart, a long time Othello neighborhood activist.  “There are lots of fun things happening in our Park these days, but this International Festival is an annual signature event that brings the whole community together.”

  A visitor from London once said of the Othello International Festival, “I came here, and I saw the world.”  Truly this event is a tiny microcosm of what should be happening on the entire planet.  It is a coming together of people from many nationalities to be together as one community sharing their art, music, dance, and cultural pride.