2017 Alabama Asian Cultures & Food Festival
April 1, 2017
Come and support the Alabama Asian Cultures Foundation and our goals through your attendance and purchases, meet people from different cultures, learn to understand cultural similarities and differences, sample many kinds of Asian food, observe a colorful origami peace mobile that was donated to the Foundation as well as an exhibit of the earliest known color photographs taken along the Burma Road in China, and have a lot of fun! Come early and stay until the grand finale. This year’s Festival Opening Ceremony will feature a dragon dance group from the Confucius Institute at Auburn University at Montgomery, which will lead early guests into the Great Hall as well as a procession of invited dignitaries. After the dragon dances, a chorus of Indian children will sing, and the dignitaries will bring greetings. Then Dr. Helen Kim, President of the Foundation, will open the Festival. Regular activities will begin and the special photographic exhibition will open at 11:00 am.
For the third time, members of Matsuriza, internationally known Japanese Taiko drummers from Epcot Center at Walt Disney World, performing. Longtime local supporters, Natyananda, Notinee, and Jasmine Dance Ensemble, will again perform, as will the very colorful and skilled Korean fan dance and percussion groups, Mugonghwa and Arirang from Fort Walton, Florida. We will also welcome back Aastha’s Bollywood Dance group, Darry’s Chinese Yoga Studio Dancers, and Kathy Ren’s Tai Chi Fans of Birmingham. Deborah Mauldin and Entourage will present a beautiful excerpt from an original Butoh work that will mesmerize all attending!
A “must see” for everyone this year will be the exhibition of a collection of the earliest known color photographs taken in China by a WW II Army doctor stationed along the Burma Road between 1943-1945. This “Visions of China” presentation will give you an insight into China and its people during the darkest days of the war, when the Burma Road and the Flying Tigers were the main lifeline to the Allies. Veterans of all ages should see this collection of photos recently donated to our Foundation.
Another special presentation will be given by Samantha Cheng, a writer, producer, and director from the Washington D.C. area, who has done extensive research into the immigration of Chinese to the South in the 19th and 20th century. Her video, “Honor and Duty: the Mississippi Delta Chinese,” will provide an insight into the history of Chinese communities that were American first, while retaining their own cultural identity, and formed bridges to other communities in a segregated South. And, her video, “Dalip Singh Saund: His Life, His Legacy” will highlight the first Asian elected to the U.S. Congress.
There will be more Asian countries represented by community cultural booths whose mission is to share distinctive and fun aspects of their cultures with you. Children can get their Asian travel passports stamped at each booth visited, where this year’s theme is “Play across Asia: Unique Games and Toys”. Again, “kids” from 6 to 99 can take a “journey in the Asia-Pacific” on a giant map from National Geographic. Guided by experienced master teacher, Bo Garrett, they will learn how vast and diverse the Pacific Ocean and the Asian shores it touches are, while doing fun activities! In keeping with the emphasis on children this year, the traditional “Asian fashion show” will only have children modeling authentic cloths from different lands. The colorful display of 20,000 origami cranes that were donated as a peace mobile to the Foundation will again be prominently displayed. Photographers be prepared. A myriad of items will be offered for sale at the Festival Bazaar Tables and vendor booths. There will also be nonprofit display tables offering information about their missions and worthwhile services they offer.
Of course FOOD is a major part of this Festival. Cuisine from at least eight different Asian countries will be for sale. The Food Court will be organized to allow patrons to have the freedom to purchase individual servings of any dish you wish from any food booth, as there will be no pre-prepared plates. Only tokens will be used to purchase food to accelerate service. Pots of Jasmine tea, sodas, and bottled water will be available also. Food prices remain the same as last year! The “Food Court” opens at 11:15 am and closes at 3:30 p.m. or until food runs out, so don’t be late.