DES MOINES, Iowa — The World Food & Music Festival is back at the Western Gateway Park in downtown for its 18th year.

This year the festival has close to 50 vendors, the most since COVID 19, and 27 different cultures are represented by food and drink. The event organizer said the event is set up to allow people to experience as many different foods from different cultures as they can.

“That is one of the best things about the event, every single vendor has a dollar taste item that you can enjoy while either seeing the stages or enjoying a beverage,” said Amelia Klatt, a special event and project manager with the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

The festival started on Friday afternoon and goes all the way until Sunday at 5 p.m. There are local musical artists performing on both of the stages set up throughout the weekend.

Klatt said that there are vendors that run food trucks or their own restaurant year round, so the event helps local businesses in their community outreach.

“Many of them have storefronts and some have food trucks that are out around downtown, throughout Des Moines for the rest of the year,” said Klatt. Klatt also added that more vendors were eager to come back this year after some events had a hiatus since the COVID 19 pandemic.

One vendor at the festival doesn’t own a store or a food truck; they come out to events like these and spread their culture.

“We love to communicate to the people and that’s why everybody comes here to enjoy,” said Ibro Saric, co-owner of Papillion stand. Saric sells Bosnian food with his family at this festival and the food market. He is from Chicago, but drives to Des Moines to help his parents run the stand.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership estimates that there will be 90,000 walking through Western Gateway Park during the World Food & Music Festival.