History

The International Festival grew out the 1986 Ethnic Folk Festival, sponsored by the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission and Bowling Green/ Warren County NAACP and the 1988 JapanFest, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

In 1989, the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission and the Chamber of Commerce joined forces to produce Bowling Green’s first International Festival in Fountain Square Park.

The first three festivals were held on Memorial Day, but in 1994, it was moved to the fall to facilitate the participation of students and educators from Western Kentucky University and other schools in the community. It is now held the last Saturday each September. Often afflilated events take place throughout September.

In 1994 the Bowling Green International Festival, Inc. was established as a 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization to ensure the continuation of the festival. The festival Board employs an Executive Director to orchestrate the planning of all aspects of the festival through the coordination of community organizations and volunteers.

The festival has dramatically increased the number and variety of performances it offers and attendance has grown to more than 15,000 making it one of the regions premier events.

In 2003 and 2007 the festival was honored as one of Kentucky Tourism’s “Top Ten” events.

In 2004, in addition to traditional performances, the festival began showcasing artists representing new genres created by the mixing of cultures such as the Afro-Cuban/Hip-Hop/Latin/Punk sounds of Mandorico.

In 2008 the Bowling Green International Festival moved one block away to the newly created Circus Square Park. The park features an interactive fountain.

Executive Directors

Teresa Christmas
1994

Marj Buck
1995 – 1996

Mark Black
1997 – 2000

Kim Mason
2001- Present

Previous Festivals

2017

September 30, 2017 at Circus Square Park Shirt Design: BJ Jordan Executive Director: Kim Mason Board of Directors: Dr. Angela Jones (President/Information Manager), Hannah Barhona (Vice President, Volunteers), Skylar Wooden…
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2016

September 24, 2016 at Circus Square Park Shirt Design: Emily Harvey Executive Director: Kim Mason Board of Directors: Dr. Angela Jones (President/Information Manager), Kimberly Nessler (Vice-President/Booth Inspection), Skylar Wooden (Treasurer/Site…
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2015

September 26, 2015 at Circus Square Park Shirt Design: Kaela Ward Executive Director: Kim Mason Board of Directors: Dr. Angela Jones (President/Information Manager), Kimberly Nessler (Vice-President/Booth Inspection), Charles Borders (Treasurer/Site Manager),…
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2014

September 27, 2014 at Circus Square Park Theme: 25 of Celebrating Diversity Shirt Design: INI Printworks Executive Director: Kim Mason Board of Directors: Dr. Angela Jones (President/Information Manager), Kimberly Nessler…
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2013

September 28, 2013 at Circus Square Park Theme: Games Around The World Shirt Design: Rachel Clark Executive Director: Kim Mason Board of Directors: Dr. Angela Jones (President/Information Manager), Kimberly Nessler…
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2012

September 29, 2012 at Circus Square Park Theme: Access The World Shirt Design: Jessica Harp Executive Director: Kim Mason Board of Directors: Dr. Angela Jones (President/Information Manager), Kimberly Nessler (Vice-President/Booth…
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2011

September 24, 2011 at Circus Square Park Theme: People Helping People Shirt Design: Stephen Gray Executive Director: Kim Mason Board of Directors: Dr. Angela Jones (President/Information Manager), Kimberly Nessler (Vice-President/Booth Inspection),…
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2010

September 25, 2010 at Circus Square Park Theme: A World of Traditions Shirt Design: Shane Warren Executive Director: Kim Mason Board of Directors: Martha Deputy (President), Dr. Linda Pickle (Vice-President/Volunteer…
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2009

September 26, 2009 at Circus Square Park Theme: One World, Many Faces Shirt Design: Matthew Tullis & Tressa Tullis Executive Director: Kim Mason Board of Directors: Martha Deputy (President), Mark…
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2008

September 27, 2008 at Circus Square Park Theme: Love in Any Language Shirt Design: Stacy Irvin Executive Director: Kim Mason Board of Directors: Martha Deputy (President), Dr. Larry Cailluoet (Vice-President/Site…
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