CelebrAsian, the annual Asian Heritage Festival, will take place on Saturday, May 31 at the Iowa State Capitol Complex East Campus (1007 East Grand Avenue in Des Moines' East Village). The 12th annual event celebrates Asian culture and showcases the different Asian and Asian-American communities present and thriving in Iowa. CelebrAsian 2014 will have fifteen different Asian cultures represented: Cambodian, Chinese, Laotian, Bhutanese, Burmese, Thai, Hmong, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Nepalese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Filipino, and Taidam. The festival will offer food, music, dance, sports competitions, arts, and crafts, and more indigenous to these cultures. The festival is free and open to the public, and it will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
While the food in the fourteen villages often is what draws people to the festival, CelebrAsian has much more going on. There are cooking demonstrations, martial arts demonstrations, table tennis tournaments, takraw tournaments, health and wellness demonstrations, and kid's activities. The main stage will feature cultural demonstrations, a fashion show, and live music and dancing. Here are some of the main stage performers that you won't want to miss:
- Paul Dateh--Dateh is a hip hop violinist, composer, arranger, and educator from Los Angeles who has written and arranged music for Kanye West, Nickelodeon, Google, and the short film Nani. Look for his new EP entitled Invisible World to debut in the coming months.
- Sartron--Sartron is an 8-foot-tall robot that performs a mixture of comedy, Bollywood to Eastern Asian music, dancing, and singing.
- Gimikk--Gimikk has been one of Des Moines' most popular party bands for more than half a decade. Expect the band to perform everything from Van Halen to Nickelback and also originals from their 2008 release Kindred Puppet.
- Larry Berenguel--Berenguel is a Des Moines-based folk, Latin, jazz, rock, R&B and gospel guitarist who released his first album, entitled Songrise, in 2006.
- The Vida Sisters--The duo of AnnaLyn Vida and Bobbie Vida Van Roekel perform R&B, country, rock, jazz, and Latin music.
This is a wonderful festival with amazing food. Make sure to stop by the Capitol Complex on Saturday and support Asian culture in Iowa. To learn more about CelebrAsian, go to the Iowa Asian Alliance website.