The international population of the city of Buffalo is on the rise. Fueling this growth is Buffalo’s continued support of programs assisting refugees from around the world who are seeking to resettle in the United States.
The West Side of Buffalo has become a major hub for this resettlement and the diverse cultural growth can be seen in the new businesses that now help drive the economy and bring new life to these neighborhoods. In celebration of this new growth, members of the West Side Community are holding their 14th Annual Taste of Diversity Festival on June 25th. What started as a grassroots gathering in 2003 as a way to celebrate the growing diversity of the West Side has turned into an annual tradition, and will expand again this year.
This year’s Taste of Diversity will include a wide array of cultural cuisine from popular restaurants and food trucks; everything from Abyssinia Ethiopian to Yakisoba’s Japanese Cuisine. Don’t be shy to try some new flavors and rest assured there will be something for everyone, including traditional American fare from GG’s Franks, barbecue from Freddy J’s BBQ and Whole Hog Food Truck, and dessert from Beautiful Cookies, Angelita’s Tropical, and Sweet Hearth Food Truck. Get your energy boost from Public Espresso, and Press Raw Food and Juice.
While the food is sure to be a highlight, Taste of Diversity is much more than just a celebration of cultural cuisine. Throughout this one day event, patrons will be entertained with a variety of dance exhibitions including Colombian Folkloric Dance, Egyptian Belly Dance, Salsa, Tango and Hip Hop, as well as a variety of musical styles including Jazz, Latin and Kizomba.
Just as important as experiencing the diverse cuisine and musical flavors, the festival provides an opportunity for this growing population center to showcase what it can offer Buffalo, and entice others to visit this increasingly vibrant area of the city. According to the American Community Survey, a survey done by the U.S. Census Bureau, 5,741 people born outside of the United States have settled in Buffalo since 2009. During this same period, the total population of the city has decreased by 13,376 people, illustrating that immigrants have made a significant and vital contribution to the city’s otherwise still diminishing population. The community support behind this resettlement has led to the growth of local businesses such as the West Side Bazaar, which provides a marketplace for many of these new residents to open businesses in an attractive, easily accessible location.
While these numbers alone are impressive, the end result is more small businesses opening their doors, job creation, and additional stimulus to the local economy. Buffalo has the industrious attitude of these newest Buffalonians to credit for contributing to this growth.
Taste of Diversity will celebrate these amazing people, their cultures, what they bring to our city, and more. The event takes place on Grant Street between Lafayette and Auburn, on Saturday, June 25th from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. The event and entertainment is free. Food samples can be purchased at the event via pre-purchased food tickets.