PHOTOS: Dancing and Popcorn at the Othello Park International Festival

by Carolyn Bick

Ilyas Abdis jumped up and down excitedly, as he waited in line for hot, fresh popcorn.

“Popcorn! Popcorn!” he exclaimed, pointing at the stall.

Beside him, his younger brother Idrees gazed hungrily at the puffy, yellow clouds falling from the popping pot inside the machine. The pair were two of thousands of children who, along with their families, trooped through Othello Park on Aug. 11 for the annual Othello Park International Festival.

Funded by a Neighborhood Matching Fund award from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, as well as local sponsors, the free festival celebrated South Seattle’s diversity through performance and dance.

Children boogied to the soothing, full sounds of Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project, after which the women of Steppers Unite, Inc., took to the stage, dancing and snapping their fans in time to the music. A little later, teens performing in the upcoming Teen Summer Musical showed off a number from “Uncle Willy’s Chocolate Factory,” which they will be bringing to the stage at Benaroya Hall later in August.

Local artists also set up shop, showing off their wares, alongside informational booths like the environmentally-focused Stone Soup Gardens, where youngsters Bernadette Hemmen and Albie Bradbury played with fake butterflies on sticks.

Nearby, adults and children sat beneath the Seattle Art Museum’s tent, coloring in bookmarks and drawing with bright markers. Ari Charoni lavished attention on the small, but feisty pup, Kitsune.

“Isn’t this just the most photogenic dog?” Charoni said, as she petted the small, fluffy creature.

Idrees Abdis waits for popcorn, during the Othello Park International Festival in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 11, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Children slide down a slide, during the Othello Park International Festival in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 11, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Gabriel Frindly, left, hangs out on a Lara Croft mannequin, during the Othello Park International Festival in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 11, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Selina Cheng, center, eats ice cream as she watches people play chess, during the Othello Park International Festival in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 11, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Glass stones lie on the Stone Soup Kitchen table, during the Othello Park International Festival in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 11, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Dancers with Steppers Unite, Inc., perform, during the Othello Park International Festival in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 11, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
The Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project performs at the Othello Park International Festival in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 11, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
A young person dances along with Seattle Steppers Unite, Inc., during the Othello Park International Festival in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 11, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

Featured Image: Teens with the Teen Summer Musical perform, during the Othello Park International Festival in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 11, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)