Author Deborah Cater once said, “You have to taste a culture to understand it.” Started by the Binghampton Development Corporation and sponsored by IBERIA Bank, the Kaleidoscope Food Festival allows you to experience more than 17 cultures through food and entertainment. It gives minority entrepreneurs, who live within the Binghampton community, a chance to showcase their culinary skills. How they honed those skills, however, is the foundation of the festival.
The Kaleidoscope Kitchen preps cooks to establish their own successful food businesses by completing a 13-week culinary class that extends their passion for cooking to a professional level. Having more than just a melting pot within the kitchen is key. “Kaleidoscope Kitchen strives for a community that comes together regardless of race, ethnicity, and religion, to celebrate identity and diversity through food and storytelling,” said BDC operations coordinator Emalea Rieckhoff.
Besides the food, the performances are what top off the event and create the overall “cultural experience,” according to Rieckhoff. For this year’s festival, you can expect to see some pretty diverse moves. There’s African jazz ensemble, ballet folklorico herencia Hispana, salsa, Bollywood style dance, and a traditional Aztec dance troupe. However, there is a key component that tells the history behind the community: storytelling.
“Beyond performances, we will also be featuring a storytelling element in the form of unique locally sourced artwork,” said Rieckhoff. “This original work will highlight the unique attributes of Binghampton with a focus on the different cultures that make up the community and participants of Kaleidoscope.”
You can have the ultimate cultural experience as a festivalgoer, tasting almost every dish and enjoying the performances, or you can experience Kaleidoscope by lending a helping hand.
“This event would not be able to happen without the support of our volunteers!,” said Emalea. “For most of our entrepreneurs, this is the first event of this scale that they have ever experienced. The more people we can get to help with some of the operational things, the more our team can focus on supporting our entrepreneurs and making sure they have what they need to be successful!”
Overall, the Kaleidoscope Food Festival allows you to broaden your horizons through food and live performances.
“We can come together to share our culture, share perspectives, and maybe even open our minds while we’re filling our stomachs,” said Rieckhoff.