Iowans who want to learn more about the many cultures of the Far East should trek to the Asian Heritage Festival today (Saturday) in Des Moines. Kim Poam Logan, of the Iowa Asian Alliance, says the expected 30-thousand visitors to the free fest will see everything from dragon boat races to Samurai demonstrations.
Poam Logan says they will feature 12 Asian villages with food, cultural exhibits, hands-on activities, historical exhibits and gifts. The villages will focus on: Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laos, Nepalese, Taidam, Vietnamese, and Thai. She says there will dancing, music and singing on a variety of stages and a fashion show featuring traditional wedding garb from each of the 12 villages.
She says there’s day-long entertainment with dance troops from the Philippines and Polynesia as the headliners. She says about 43-thousand Asian-Americans live in Iowa, while the 17-hundred Iowa businesses owned by Asian-Americans contribute nearly 273-million dollars to the economy and make up 32-percent of Iowa’s minority-owned businesses.
Poam Logan says new features at this year’s festival include a Job Fair Village with several top local employers and a Health and Wellness Village that will feature a host of free check-ups and health education.
There’s a juried art competition and exhibit that features artworks from Asian-Americans or that have Asian-inspired themes. Poam Logan says the festival has two main goals: to celebrate Asian-American contributions to Iowa’s culture and economy, and to provide Iowans an opportunity to experience and better understand Asian cultures. The festival is underway today (Saturday) only from 10 A.M. to 7 P.M. at Des Moines’ Water Works Park. Admission is free.