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1st Asian Cultural Festival Coming To CR

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) On Saturday, Cedar Rapids very first Asian Cultural festival will be held at the McGrath Amphitheater starting at 1:00 p.m.  Its an event that is meant to provide a cultural and educational experience for all visitors.

It will feature a cultural village, singing, dancing and martial arts performances throughout the day. Educational booths will represent up to 14 different cultures and the festival will showcase 25 different countries with unique activities at each booth. The band Gimikk, which often does 80s cover songs and performed at the Amphitheater two weeks ago, will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. A festival showpiece will be the Chinese lantern ceremony which will take place at dusk. Visitors can donate money to buy one of the 200 available lanterns. As with Chinese tradition, a prayer or well-wish can be written on the lantern before it is sent off into the sky.

Norie Pergande of Lumpia Shanghai, a small restaurant located inside JoJos Oriental Store at 3655 1st Ave SE in the Town and Country Shopping Center, cant wait to share her cooking as one of the festivals vendors. She will be making Filipino staples like Lumpia Shanghai, Turon, and Panit Bihon.

Knowing that I am representing our own food, very excited, cant wait! Pergande said.

She said she hopes that the first time event will help her restaurant become more visible in the community. She said when shes served folks at fairs, shes always had a warm response.

Once they order one, theyll come back 30 minutes later and say, oh, this is awesome, never had this before! Pergande said.

Pergandes passion is exactly what Anthony Brown of Diversity Focus was hoping to tap into when he dreamed up the festival. He said there just wasnt an event to represent the Asian community.

This is a significant population here in the Corridor, and lets do something fun and exciting to not only celebrate their culture and heritage, but also, maybe educate the general population, Pergande said.

So he recruited Brandy Lovan, who has a Laotian background, to become the chair of the festival.

Were very family oriented, and when we do things, we do things big! Lovan said.

She quickly found to filling the 500 SWAG bags that the festival plans to give away. Her family and friends gathered on Wednesday night to help her get the bags ready.
 For Norie, the festival is a big opportunity to showcase culture and the food close to her heart. 

"Its very inspiration(al) for me when people (are)loving my food," Norie said.


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