The eighth annual Alabama Asian Cultures and Food Festival will be held this year on Saturday, April 9, 2016, from 10:30 am (opening ceremony) until 4:00 pm at the Zamora Shrine Temple (3521 Ratliff Road, Irondale, AL 35210). Come and support the Foundation and its goals through your attendance and purchases at vendor bazaars, meet people from different cultures, learn to understand cultural similarities and differences by visiting our cultural educations booths, enjoy Asian entertainment, sample many kinds of Asian food, and have a lot of fun! Come early and stay until closing. This year’s Festival begins with the traditional Opening Ceremony: Children’s Chorus, remarks from visiting dignitaries and this year’s Miss Birmingham and Miss Cahaba Valley. Regular activities will begin at 11:00 am. There will be a number of educational and fun activities available, including an Asian fashion show, construction of a Nepalese Rangoli (made with colored rice), Japanese arts workshops, a “silent” auction, scholarly discussions with Indian film excerpts on diversity and tolerance, outdoor lessons on cricket, and a “Name It and Claim It” Asia map activity with prizes. For the third year in a row, members of Matsuriza, internationally known Japanese Taiko drummers from Epcot Center at Walt Disney World, will perform. Diverse dance styles from China, India, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam will be presented, ranging from Indian Ballywood dances to Japanese Bhuto and Vietnamese lion dances. The very different sounds of traditional Asian music and rhythms will conjure images of far-away lands, as will the silk embroidered and painted art, ceramics, children’s books on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, dolls, umbrellas, lanterns, brass ware, plants, and other items on sale in the Festival Bazaar. The number of Asian countries represented by cultural education booths, whose mission is to share fun aspects of their cultures with you, will increase this year. A new feature will be a children’s “passport” to be stamped when they visit each booth or take a “journey across Asia” on a giant map from National Geographic, guided by experienced master teacher, Bo Garrett, from Highlands School. Storytelling sessions presenting Asian folk tales, myths, stories, and fairy tales from different Asian cultures, sure to delight the small ones, are co-sponsored by the AACF and our partner, the Vestavia Hills Library in the Woods. Weather permitting, there will be experts who will conduct “hands-on” activities on the sport of cricket which is wildly popular in much of southern and western Asia. There will also be workshops for adults to learn more about the Japanese arts of Origami and Ikebana. The colorful display of 20,000 origami cranes that were donated as a peace mobile to the Foundation will again be prominently displayed. It should remind everyone attending of our goal to build an International Friendship and Peace Plaza to be dedicated in honor of Mahatma Gandhi for his efforts to unify people and the influence his ideas about non-violent resistance to injustice had on many influential world leaders. It is intended that this Plaza will connect an Asian Cultural Education Center and a Suzhou-style Chinese Garden. And, of course food is a major part of this Festival. Again, there will be cuisine offered from at least seven different Asian countries. Sample as you will, and savor the aromas, flavors, and textures of the foods offered. Try new things and discover new favorites. This year you will again have the freedom to purchase individual servings of any dish you wish from any food booth. Again, only tokens will be used to purchase food to accelerate service. Pots of Jasmine tea, sodas, and bottled water will be available also. The “Food Court” opens at 11:15 am and closes at 3:30 p.m., so don’t be late. Following tradition, this year’s Miss Birmingham (2016), M’ia Callens, and Miss Cahaba Valley (2016), Chandler Shields, will serve as hostesses and Emcees for the festival, serve as Chorus Mistresses for the Children’s Chorus in the opening ceremony, and be available for photographs with children all day. Admission this year is $8.00 for adults 18 and over, $5.00 for teens (13-17) and college students, active military, and veterans with ID, and free for children 12 and under. Food service will be available from 11:15 am – 3:30 pm. A small number of invited restaurants and organizations representing many Asian cuisines will have signature dishes that will only be sold a la carte. $4.00 food tokens and $2.00 green drink tickets will be offered at the Admissions area. No cash will be accepted for food, only tokens: one token for one food serving. You may be as adventurous as you like, sampling dishes you have never tried before. Soft drinks and bottled water will be available for $2.00 (one green ticket) each, and a teapot of hot Jasmine tea with four cups is $4.00 (two green tickets).
Admission: $8.00 for adults; $5.00 for teens and active duty military, veterans, and college students with ID; free for children 12 and under.
2016/04/09 - 2016/04/09
Additional time info:
Opening Ceremony is at 10:30 am. Food Service from 11:15 am- 3:30 pm.