A small but important segment of Iowa’s population is showcasing itself today in Des Moines with its first-ever Asian Heritage Festival. Kim Poam, executive director of the Iowa Asian Alliance, says the gathering will be filled with entertainment, information and good food.Poam says several Asian villages will be set up, each one featuring a segment of the Asian community with information, flags, food, tourism, history and cultural exhibits. Poam says the mission of the festival is to increase public awareness of Iowa’s Asian Americans and their cultural and economic contributions to the state. Villages will include: China, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Laos, Pakistan, Korea, Philippines and Hmong. According to the 2000 census, Poam says there are about 43-thousand Asian-Americans in Iowa, which is about one-point-five percent of the state’s population. She explains the goals of the festival.Goals include: showcasing cultural diversity through arts and crafts, clothing, entertainment, and food representative of the Asian communities, and providing direct interactions and informational materials on social, cultural, historical and geographical significance of the Asian communities. The festival is free and runs today only from 11 AM to 7 P.M. at Gray’s Lake Park in Des Moines. For more information, surf to “www.IowaAsianAlliance.com”.
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