Hosted by the Asian Coalition of Tallahassee and co-sponsored by the city of Tallahassee, the Experience Asia Festival has taken over downtown Tallahassee for the 12th year.
The festival’s main goal and theme is centered around “Embracing Differences” and merging communities within the Tallahassee area. Located at Lewis and Bloxham Parks from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the festival included live performances, arts and crafts, exhibits, live demonstrations and a variety of Asian cuisines.
Free for participants of all age groups, the festival featured performances from Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Polynesian Islands, Hawaii, India, and the Middle East. Local performances included groups such as the Mayan School of Dance, and the Japanese Community of Tallahassee.
Chris McKinney recalls his favorite performance from the festival.
“I'm really into music so the best part for me was watching the drummers perform. It was an interesting experience to be apart of,” McKinney said.
Showcasing Asian Pacific cultures and heritage, hands-on activities such as origami making, dressing up in kimonos and many more Asian and Asian Pacific traditions were available to all visitors.
“My favorite part was the wish tree. You write your wish on a piece of paper without your name, and they tie it to a tree and wish you luck. It was so enriched in culture,” says Kelvin Lyles.
Highlight performances within the festival included EPCOT’s Matsuriza Taiko Drummers and japanese dance group Wakafuyi-Kai.
As for more hands-on activities, participants were taught how to write their names in Asian Pacific native languages such as Hiragana and Katakana.
Along with over 60 vendors, handmade goods such as origami gift boxes, origami handmade jewelry, and knitted gifts were also on display and available for purchase.
“I enjoyed myself to be honest. It was great to watch these people share their culture with us. From the food to the shows, everything at the festival was really cool,” says Detrice Bickham.
Building the bridge to unite these communities, the Experience Asia Festival has been able to bring Asian communities together within the Big Bend area to promote Asian culture within the city.