It's the 16th year of the Taste of Diversity, an annual summer festival that celebrates the West Side's culturally diverse community through food, dance, music and shopping.
Be warned: If you're reading this article in an office while eating a sad salad, or basically anywhere that isn't a kitchen or restaurant, it might be hard to get through. Words like sesame cookies, pad Thai and sambusas might trigger you into a daydream that ends in calling a Thai restaurant for take-out immediately.
Or, if you're patient, wait until the weekend to taste each of those dishes and more in an economically friendly, outdoor "small plates" concept known as a "Taste of" festival.
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 29.
Where: Grant Street, between Auburn Avenue and Lafayette Avenue.
Cost: The festival is free to attend. Food and drink tickets cost $1 each, and similar to other "Taste of" events, each dish costs at least a few tickets.
Weather: Expect a warm and humid day, with a high temperature of 78 degrees. Scattered thunderstorms might roll through during the afternoon and evening, which will give you a chance to pop into Grant Street businesses, such as West Side Stories and Marka Halal Market, for protection.
Parking: Park on Grant Street, or on one of the various side streets leading up to the festival.
Vendors: As a "Taste of," the festival focuses on food. Vendors from all over the West Side showcase their specialties. Abyssinia Ethiopian will serve sambusas, vegetables, rice and chicken. Freddy J's BBQ will have a quintessential summer staple, barbecue. Former West Side Bazaar incubator-turned-storefront, Gourmet Lao Foods, is showing off its bubble tea, pad Thai, egg rolls, sesame cookies and more. KT Caribbean Flavour will serve jerk curry chicken, potato salad, snow cones and more. At Tropical B & R, expect chicken chicharrones, empanadas and guava and cream cheese pastries. There will be vegan food, dessert, hot dogs and hamburgers. Is your mouth watering yet?
For a full list of vendors, visit their website.
Entertainment: DJs, dancers and musicians will hit two stages from 11 a.m. through 5:45 p.m. Among the many entertainers, expect to see Bollywood, Argentine Tango and African Warrior dancers. There will be drum ensembles and Blaise Mercedes and Crew playing funk, pop and indie rock, on the main stage. On the DJ stage at Lafayette, dance to reggae, hip hop, funk and Afro beats.
Buffalo Burmese Water Festival: Dating to 2005 in Buffalo, the Burmese community celebrates the Myanmar New Year the traditional way, with a water festival, drenching each other with water for good blessings. While not connected to the Taste of Diversity, both events happen on Grant Street at the same time. The Water Festival is located on Grant Street and Breckenridge Street. Stop by to cool off, get wet and revel in more music, dancing and food.
[Photo Gallery: Myanmar Water Festival]