Asian American Community Launches 1st Annual Cleveland Asian Festival

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In a move that highlights their growing presence, unity and influence, leaders and volunteers from Cuyahoga County's Asian American community are holding Cleveland's first-ever Asian Festival during national Asian Heritage Month on May 22 with 40+ exhibitions and Asian cuisine, 2 stages of performing artists, children fun activities, competitions and health pavilion.

So our thought is to do something really big.

In a move that highlights their growing presence, unity and influence, leaders and volunteers from Cuyahoga County's Asian American community are holding Cleveland's first-ever Asian Festival during national Asian Heritage Month on May 22 with 50+ exhibitions and Asian cuisine, 2 stages of performing artists, children fun activities, competitions and health pavilion.

The Cleveland Asian Festival will bring together a diverse array of Asian vendors, exhibitors, artists, performers, health care professionals and visitors. The event is free to the public and will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. along Payne Avenue, between East 27th and East 30th streets, and in Asia Plaza's main parking lots. This is the heart of AsiaTown, the business district from East 30th to East 40th Streets between St. Clair and Payne Avenues that is home to numerous Asian merchants.

"In recent years, there has been greater interest in our Asian community and more of us want to get involved in shaping the future of our community," said Vi Huynh, current MotivAsians for Cleveland President, one of the organizations putting together the festival. "So our thought is to do something really big."

The festival aims to introduce AsiaTown's stores and restaurants to thousands of new people throughout Cuyahoga County. In addition, a health fair with free screenings that will target Asian Americans and address the medical conditions that afflict them most.

Asian Americans make up 2.3 percent of Cuyahoga County's residents, and they range from Asian Indians, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese to minor Asian ethnic groups.

This festival is already generating buzz beyond Cuyahoga County. Planners estimate 5,000 visitors, including many from as far as Toledo, Youngstown and Columbus. Visitors will see a children's activities area and be able to participate in games and competitions, like Egg Roll Eating Contest, Inflatable Sumo Wrestling, DDR or Karaoke. Visual artists will have displays and local and national performers, including Indian and Japanese drumming, martial arts and Chinese dragon/lion dances, plus others on two stages, an outdoor main stage and a second stage inside Asia Plaza, throughout the day. Local Asian celebrities including world-renowned classical pianist Tatsuya Nagashima, author Margaret Wong, Radio, and TV Personality Ratanjit Sondhe, Lake County Captians Chun-Hsiu Chen, author Richard Herman, TV anchorwoman Lynna Lai and journalist Robert Smith are scheduled to make their appearances in providing opportunities to meet and greet with the participants. There will also be educational materials, cultural displays, demonstrations and interactive workshops available to the public.

For more information, please visit http://www.ClevelandAsianFestival.org, email info@clevelandasianfestival.org or call 216.539.4634.

The 1st Annual Cleveland Asian Festival is made possible with the generosity support and donations from Asia Plaza / Li Wah Chinese Restaurant, Asian Festival (Columbus), Asian Food Solutions, Asian Services In Action, Chinese Professionals and Entrepreneurs Association, City of Cleveland, Cleveland Chinese Benevolent Association, Cleveland Chinese Women Association, Cleveland Clinic,, Cleveland Contemporary Chinese Culture Association, Cleveland Film Society, Cleveland Foundation, ClevelandPeople.com, Consolidated Graphics Group, COSE, Councilman Jeffrey Johnson (Ward 8), Creative House Studios, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Erie Chinese Journal, Federation of Indian Community Associations, Fifth Third Bank, Friendship Foundation of America, India International News, Ingenuity Festival, International Community Council, International Services Center, Japanese Americans Citizens League, Kaiser Permanente, KeyBank, Koko Bakery, Korean American Association of Greater Cleveland, Margaret Wong and Associates, May & C. F. Chen, Metromix.com, MotivAsians for Cleveland, National City Bank, Neighborhood Connections, Northeast Ohio Medical Reserve Corps., OCA Greater Cleveland Chapter, Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Lottery Commission, Presque Isle Downs & Casino, Protech Polymer Presto!, St. Clair Superior Development Corp., Stream of Music, University Hospitals, Vietnamese Community of Greater Cleveland, and Walmart.

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