Jackson International Food and Art Festival 2021

Baklava, empanadas and lumpias filled the streets of downtown Jackson for the seventh annual Jackson International Food and Art Festival (JIFAF). For many members of the international community of Jackson, this was an opportunity to showcase their culture through food, dance, and garments.  

Dr. Sandra Dee, co-chair of JIFAF, was born and raised in the Philippines, she shared how the festival is symbolic for someone like her. 

“I have lived in Jackson for 15 years now, I have been in the United States for over 25 years, and this is the place that I have lived the longest. So, I have considered myself a Jacksonian, and this is important,” Dr. Dee said.  

She also expressed that this year was even more special, since there was no festival last year due to COVID-19 and it coincides with the bicentennial celebrations.  

“When you come to this festival, you experience the world without leaving your own home,” Dr. Dee said. “I am ecstatic and very happy that we are able to do this, to bring people together, to celebrate our diversity in Jackson, and also we promote unity, by doing this festival.”  

People in front of the Japan stand try out different kimonos during the 7th annual Jackson International Food and Art Festival on Saturday, Oct 16, 2021 in Jackson, Tenn.

Jack Huynh, 18, currently resides in Memphis and is of Vietnamese descent. He attended the festival to support his friends who were performing in the parade and also to experience other cultures.  

“I came here today because I heard it was a multicultural festival, which is really cool to me, because you don’t really see that often in everyday life,” Huynh said. “A lot of kids who are born in America, but they are from another country, they don’t get to see that very often, so it is nice to see the exposure.”