Asian Cultural Festival coming to Ocoee

Attendees can get a taste of the cultures of Asia at the Ocoee Lakeshore Center through live music, dance performances, food and drink.

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The Asian American Heritage Council of Central Florida is giving residents a chance to experience the flavors and sounds of Asia at its 13th annual Asian Cultural Festival Sunday, May 14.

“It’s Mother’s Day, but we encourage everyone to bring their mother to enjoy the day,” said Pauline Ho, event sponsorship chair.

The event will be held at the Ocoee Lakeshore Center, with activities inside and outdoors. The food hall will be set up outside in Bill Breeze Park, and attendees can purchase Asian foods and desserts from restaurants selling delicacies such as jerky, grilled squid, mango sticky rice, barbecue pork noodle bowls, mochi, kimbap, teas and coconut drink

Indoors, entertainment will take place from noon to 4 p.m.

The schedule includes a Parade of Nations, Taiwanese Dragon Dance, Filipino folk music, Japanese drumming, Chinese poetry, Indian dance and Thai music. There will be a ribbon dance from Taiwan, a yo-yo performance and Lion Dance from China, kung fu and tai chi performances, and more.

The Japanese drumming includes more than 20 performers, so it will be held outside, Ho said.

“That’s always our signature performance,” she said.

The lion and dragon dances also are popular cultural performances at the event.

“They represent prosperity, and they represent good luck to those who enjoy the festival,” Ho said.

The council is partnering with the city of Ocoee. The cultures participating in the festival take turns chairing and hosting the event. The festival is a fundraiser for the council’s Asian American Student Achiever Award Scholarship. There is no entry fee, but there is a charge for the food items.

“My favorite part of the festival will be the food, definitely,” Ho said. “We have something different, and I like that. My other favorite part is how we are so many different organizations (coming) together (for) one event. The unity of it.”

Ho is grateful for the sponsors who are annual supporters; any restaurants return each year to participate.

“Their support means a lot to our festival and our Asian students as well,” she said.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and Asian Americans celebrate their culture and heritage through talented performances and cuisine.

The Asian American Heritage Council of Central Florida is an umbrella nonprofit comprised of several Asian American member organizations — groups ranging from social, cultural, business, religious, educational and professional to health and fitness, and diversity networks. It was established in 1980 by community leaders of ethnic associations representing the various countries of Asia led by the Philippines, China, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Korea and Laos.
In 1995, the group reorganized as the AAHC to include all 41 countries of Asia. In the last few years, more than 35 Asian American organizations have participated in the celebration of National Asian Pacific American Heritage Month through the annual cultural festival.


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