Tallahassee Community Celebrates Pista Sa Nayon

Chairman of the Asian Coalition of Tallahassee (ACT) Dr. T. Soma.

Hundreds of residents gathered at Kleman Plaza on Saturday, Sept. 19 for a chance to experience traditional Filipino culture, art, and food at Pista Sa Nayon (Filipino feast).

The festival featured freshly prepared authentic Filipino food, cultural music and dance, free blood pressure screenings and the support of various county organizations.  

Chandra Dawson, an employee in the Equity and Workforce Development (EWD) Department for the City of Tallahassee, attended Pista Sa Nayon with her daughter; together they enjoyed the opportunity to experience different cultures.

“This is my second year attending the festival," said Dawson. "Being that Tallahassee is an All-American city, we do embrace all cultures. By being here we show that we can all relate one another in any type of event."

Pista Sa Nayon began in 2011 at the Tallahassee Senior Center and is sponsored by the Big Bend Filipino American Association (BBFAA).The BBFAA helps support the Filipino Student Association (FSA) at Florida State University (FSU) uses donations from the events to assist funding scholarships.

Member of the BBFAA Board of Directors and event co-coordinator, Aurora Torres-Hansen wants guests to remember that everyone is culturally connected.

"Knowing your heritage—especially for the kids born here in the U.S is really important," said Torres-Hansen. "This is a great way for them to learn and stay connected. We are all connected through so many cultural similarities and this gives us a feeling of home."

According the 2010 U.S. Census, Asians account for 3.7 percent of the Tallahassee population. Chairman of the Asian Coalition of Tallahassee (ACT) and Director of the X-ray Crystallography Facility at FSU, Dr. T. Somasundaram (Soma) attended Pista Sa Nayon. He believes that cultural festivals are pivotal for communities to understand heritage.

"Just because we are immigrants doesn't mean we know about other immigrants," said Dr. Soma. "By coming together, we are strong. Tallahassee is the center of Florida's government, education and business so it is important for everyone to understand each other."

To become a member of the BBFAA visit www.bbfaa.org. The ACT will be hosting the 11th Annual Asian Festival on Sat. Oct. 3 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Bloxham and Lewis Parks at 100 S. Monroe Street.