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West Kendall Zine Fest
West Kendall Zine Fest
Courtesy of West Kendall Zine Fest

West Kendall Zine Fest Returns to Milly’s Empanada Factory

Last year, when José Atencio, owner of Milly’s Empanada Factory and cofounders Bryan Herrero and Andre Alvarez started organizing the inaugural West Kendall Zine Fest  (affectionately known as WKZF), the trio had just met for the first time after a casual encounter at Milly's. Instantly hitting it off, the trio planned the suburban get-down in three short weeks. A year later, the highly anticipated event has evolved with proper planning and a stronger bond among the group.

"People really came out here to Kendall," Atencio reflects on last year's fest, sitting on a striped beach chair in front of Milly's. "And it really solidified the fact that we are out here in Kendall, and that we don't have to drive out to do all the fun stuff. It was amazing. To this day, people still talk about WKZF."

While most of the 305 heads east in search of the Magic City's subcultural happenings, WKZF organizers felt it was important to get Miami to come out west. The festival, described by Atencio as "a launching pad for new collections," aims to provide artists from the neighborhood a platform to showcase their work and shift Miami's perspective on the suburb. Atencio says, "People are finding a sense of identities within their neighborhoods. People are repping."

Herrero says, "There’s definitely a lot of hidden gems in the realm of West Kendall. We wanted to do this 'cause it just felt right."

On Sunday, April 1, the Venezuelan comfort-food restaurant will host the West Kendall Zine Fest in the shopping center's parking lot. Now in its second year, the fest will offer attendees double the number of vendors, more people, extended hours, and more of a "festival feeling" with its layout, Atencio says. The music lineup will include a Sunday rendition of the Electric Pickle's infamous the Love Below party with the Love Below collective and DJ Spacy.

Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy zine-making lesson for seventh- and eighth-graders in preparation for WKZF.
Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy zine-making lesson for seventh- and eighth-graders in preparation for WKZF.
Courtesy of West Kendall Zine Fest

A lineup of more than 60 vendors features works by Dale Zine; Jacuzzi Boys’ Gabriel Alcala; Goochsoup; O, Miami and Jai-Alai Books; Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy; and others.

The daylong zine festival will be divided into separate areas, including El Mercadito, where visitors can get paper goods and zine-making tools, and the Bazaar, where the fest's apparel, gadgets, toys, plants, antiques, and vintage items will be sold.

For those not participating as vendors at the fest who would still like to display their work, WKZF is accepting submissions for its Public Zine Net installation, which will be up until the day of festival. All you have to do is mail in or drop off your zines at Milly's, located at 13911 SW 66th St.

West Kendall Zine Fest organizers José Atencio (top), Bryan Herrero (left), and Andre Alvarez (right).
West Kendall Zine Fest organizers José Atencio (top), Bryan Herrero (left), and Andre Alvarez (right).
Courtesy of West Kendall Zine Fest

"When it started, it was very surreal. It needed to happen because there’s such a bad rap when it comes to Kendall," Herrero says. "People are ashamed of, like, repping Kendall."

Atencio adds, "It’s just, like, we’re doing the deed. And then whatever happens, happens. It really is an open format kind of festival. We’re just choosing the vendors and making sure that there’s a really amazing space for them to work with, and then it's going to be a day of creating. We’ll see what the final product is for year two. We’re very excited."

For the latest WKZF updates and announcements, follow @wkzfmia on Instagram.

West Kendall Zine Fest. Noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, April 1, at Milly’s Empanada Factory, 13911 SW 66th St., Miami; 305-791-1848; millysfactory.com. Admission is free.

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