Taking to the Streets for Fiesta Asia

Border Crossing: Washington, D.C.

Culture from the other side of the world spills out onto D.C. streets Saturday, May 17 for the third annual Fiesta Asia – National Asian Heritage Festival. The Grand Celebration, the main event for the month-long commemoration, will be a street fair, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. along Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 3rd and 6th streets in Washington, D.C. There will be a parade at 2 p.m., with live performances, art displays, activities and pan-Asian cuisine all day long.

This year’s festival highlights many international participants including musical groups like Daryo from Tajikistan and Songspell from Philippines, Korean Master Calligrapher Koo Suk Ko and a Chinese painting team from Beijing Xu Beihong Memorial Museum. Renowned Asian comedian Dan Nainan will be performing. Over 60 performing groups representing 20-plus cultures are performing.

The parade will feature lion dances, Ati-atihan and regional cultural organizations. For the first time at the street fair, three Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan – will share their culture and arts. Other participating cultures include India, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hawaii and Turkey.

Visitors to the street fair can learn to bamboo dance, weave textiles, consult with a palm reader, have names written in an Asian language, cook Asian cuisine, get health tests, shop for crafts, taste Asian beer, and enjoy many more activities. Admission to Fiesta Asia Street Fair is free and open to the public. Area businesses and associations have events planned around D.C. through May. For a full list of events and more details, visit www.asiaheritage.org.