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October 27, 2014

Asian Festival 2014

By Ambassadors Team Member, Ashley Abedini

Meg Foreman - YPW Program & Marketing Manager

Asian Festival 2014 - Wichita Kansas

Great performances. Delicious food. And a lot of peace signs.

If you have lived in Wichita for a long enough time (circa creepy Joyland years), then you probably have heard of the Asian Festival. If not – it is a long standing annual celebration that showcases the diverse Asian community. There are many fun live performances, as well as many great local food vendors. And although I am a pretty basic, one of my favorite things to do is learn about different cultures. That is what is so great about Asian fest: there are 15 Asian countries represented. So you really get a crash course into so many diverse cultures in a short period of time.

They sprinkle 20 performances throughout the night that showcase each of the Asian countries: from the martial art crew representing China, to the dance team showcasing the popular dance of Western Laos. One of my favorite performances of the night was the Vietnamese fan dance. This dance, performed by the Buddhist Youth Association, was a hypnotizing sight to see.

One of the one going events on the main stage was the Miss Asian Festival Scholarship Pageant. This was similar to other pageants you may have watched, except there were less white girls named Becky. Each contestant represented an Asian country, and did their talent section to show case their designated country. In addition to the main title holder, they crowned a Miss Social Media that was awarded by audience participation.

Asian Festival 2014 - Wichita Kansas

And if you know me at all, it should not surprise you that the part of the event that made my heart the happiest was the food. The food was cheap, and was served in small portions so you can sample many vendors without feeling disgustingly full. There were more than 60 vendors serving some amazing eats. My rule of thumb is to try the vendors that look the sketchiest first. Because we all know that the most threatening places make the most legit food. And you think you’re an open-minded accepting person until you see a white guy in an Abercrombie polo making your pad thai. (Bonus points if there is at least one endangered species found on the menu.)

Asian Festival 2014 - Wichita Kansas

My favorite items included the Dosa at Zaytun, the vegetarian bahn mi at the young Buddhist Association table, and the kottu from the Sri Lankan vendor. There were many dishes that seemed questionable, such as the meat-soaked-egg thingy seen above that ended up being surprisingly alright.

So in summary, it was awesome. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check it out, I strongly encourage you to go next year. Because as my Asian friend PJ likes to say: “Once you go Asian, your life is amazin.”

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