In song, by the rhythm of the dance and to the beat of the drums, the vibrant and diverse Asian cultures of Orlando were on display at the Asian American Heritage Council of Central Florida’s 2014 celebration held on Saturday, May 31.
City of Orlando Commissioner Robert Stuart and Acting Consulate General of Indonesia His Excellency Isman Pasha welcomed a crowd of thousands at the Asian Cultural Festival held at its new venue, Orlando Fashion Square. Luis Martinez, Multicultural Affairs Director for the City of Orlando was among the other special guests.
Photos: Bounsong, John Chung, Marty Fries, and C.K. Lau (To view the photo album, visit www.facebook.com/asiatrend)
“Orlando Fashion Square was proud to be the platinum sponsor for the event that showcases the talents and contributions of our region’s Asian community,” said Brian Small, general manager of the mall owned by UP Development LLC.
“When UP Development took over Orlando Fashion Square last year, we said our no. 1 goal was to create something new here that would be of interest and value to the community— that includes investing in organizations like AAHC and especially your scholarship program,” Small added.
The festival commemorated May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Festival-goers came to enjoy the entertainment, arts, crafts, fashions and ethnic foods representing China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Organizers estimated one of its highest attendances ever for the event, peaking at 5,000 visitors to the more than 75 business services, retail and food booths. Along with Orlando Fashion Square, the festival was made possible by sponsors Bright House; Payas, Payas Payas; 1st Spring Supermarket; SunTrust Bank; Gateway Insurance; media sponsor Asia Trend and the volunteer crew led by R.E.A.C.H. of Central Florida.
Watch more event videos at www.youtube.com/AsiaTrend
Center Stage featured the Opening Ceremony hosted by AAHC Chair Prayong Deeying along with Co-Chair Agnes Chau and Advisor Leilani Fontanilla. The signature opening Dragon Dance was followed by seven hours of entertainment ranging from Chinese Feather Fan Dance to a Vietnamese Fashion Show, Binasuan Dance of the Philippines to Fon Poo Tai of Thailand performance.
The Midway Court featured Japanese Judo and Tai Chi demonstrations, competitions for badminton and table tennis from ClearOne Badminton of Orlando and a special performance by Orlando Taiko Dojo, Japanese drumming troupe. One of the more popular and unique exhibitors was Candy Miyuki, one of only 15 worldwide who has been formally trained in Ame Zaiku, the Japanese candy artistry that dates back 250 years.
In Central Florida, residents of Asian heritage are one of the fastest-growing populations, numbering more than 120,000 in the Metro Orlando area. The Asian American Heritage Council of Central Florida is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that was established in 1980 to preserve Asian Heritage and Culture and to represent the interest of diverse Asian American ethnicities. All proceeds of the festival go to benefit the annual Asian Student Achievers’ Scholastic Awards. For more information, go to www.aahc-cf.org.