Where Food, Art, Culture and Entertainment Collide: Inside Wichita’s Lao Festival
By Emily Younger-Barnwell
Are you searching for a city of culture, a place where entertainment and tradition collide?
New in 2023 is the nine-day Lao Festival full of food, dancing, art, cultural activities, religious experiences and live entertainment.
“It’s nine days and nine nights of celebrating!” emphasized Phet Namphengsone.
Namphengsone is helping prepare for the combination of celebrations from Aug. 26 through Sept. 3 at Wat Lao, home to Wichita’s Lao Buddhist Associates of Kansas.
“We hope to provide awareness and education about a sense of community and cultural diversity through the exposure of new foods, ideas and customs. We want to be good examples of embracing all kinds of people from all walks of life,” Namphengsone explained.
The free festival will feature the first international Buddhist reunion with approximately 200 monks from around the globe and the grand opening of a meditation hall.
The public is invited to immerse themselves in Laotian culture and experience the event’s more than 60 food, beverage, custom art, jewelry and clothing vendors. Live music, entertainment and dancing are also scheduled.
In total, Namphengsone expects upwards of a thousand in attendance.
“Hotels, transportation, restaurants, other local businesses and even local attractions are expected to be highly used during this time,” she said. “We hope it highlights Wichita is a great and diverse place to live and work!”
What: Lao Festival
When: August 26-September 3
Where: Wat Lao, 2550 S Greenwich Rd, Wichita, KS 67210