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You can explore many cultures at Columbus' annual Asian Festival

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Franklin Park in Columbus, Ohio is playing host to the annual Asian Festival over Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25), a fun and educational event for the whole family showcasing and celebrating cultural heritage, traditions and diversity. So, if you are looking for something to do on the holiday weekend, check this out. It is approximately a 2 hour drive from Cleveland to Columbus.

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Asian Festival Expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors, the Festival will gives guests a chance to learn about the cultures and traditions of people from China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Activities at the two day free event include cultural exhibitions, martial arts demonstrations, musical performances, workshops, yoga demonstrations, shopping at a Marketplace (featuring artwork, jewelry, pottery, toys, clothing, gift items, snacks and spices) and numerous dance performances from various countries including India and China.

Children's activities include origami, Japanese Fish Printing, games, a play house and dressing up in ethnic costumes.

Authentic Asian cuisine (including Indonesian sate skewers and Chinese spicy homestyle noodles) will be available for purchase.

Visitors can also enjoy watching Asian games like Ping-Pong and Sepak-Takraw ( a hybrid of football and volleyball).

An early attraction that you will want to make sure you see is the free Dragon Boat Race event taking place on the Scioto River at Scioto Audubon Metro Park in downtown Columbus this weekend on Sunday, May 11 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The event will feature both exhibition and team competition Dragon Boat races. Dragon boats involve a team of 20 paddlers racing in a long boat (colorful, elaborately decorated, carved and painted vessels with dragon figureheads) down the river in synch to a drum.

Other Asian Festival activities at Scioto Audubon Metro Park include a dragon boat workshop, performances of a lion dance and a dragon dance and seeing Asian kites and lanterns.

Hours for the Asian Festival are 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 24 and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 25. Admission is free. Parking is free. A free shuttle will be available from the parking lot.

Those visitors interested in staying overnight should check out the Courtyard by Marriot Columbus Airport located at 2901 Airport Dr. Call 800-321-2211 to check for pricing and to make reservations. Be sure to ask for the block of rooms for the Asian Festival to get a special deal.

For more information about the Asian Festival call 614-451-3550 or get online at www.asian-festival.org.

Franklin Park is located at 1777 E. Broad St. in Columbus, Ohio. Scioto Audubon Metro Park is located at 400 West Whittier St. in Columbus. Columbus is approximately a 2 hour drive from Cleveland. Visitors coming to the Asian Festival should use the Broad Street Exit on I-71.

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