Experience Asia 2019: 15 Years of Food, Music and Culture

We all know and love Bloxham Park for its giant Spanish moss-covered oak trees and adorable fairy lights. But this Saturday, Oct. 5, from 10 am to 5 pm, the park will host Experience Asia, North Florida’s largest Asian festival. For fifteen years running, visitors have come to Tallahassee from all over the world to take part in a day full of delicious food, engaging musical performances and unique cultural experiences. Ever since the Asian Coalition of Tallahassee (ACT) formed in 2004, their team has worked tirelessly every year to put together a free admission, fun-filled fest for all ages. Attendance at the event this year is expected to reach over 18,000 people!

Courtesy: Portia Campos

“The festival will showcase Asian and Asian Pacific cultures and heritage through performances, demonstrations, hands-on activities, cuisine, music and dance,” says Ryan Brown, an FSU Arts Administration graduate student who is assisting the ACT festival committee this year. These demonstrations will include a Japanese tea ceremony, a tai chi demo, sari and kimono-wrapping workshops, a traditional yoga session and many more. There will also be craft tents where festival-goers can make their own origami figurines and Filipino lanterns as keepsakes!

Courtesy: Portia Campos

The park grounds open at 10 am, but the real fun kicks off around noon with the opening ceremony, which will feature a Green Harvest Dragon Dance performed with a traditional Chinese dragon costume by members of the Chinese Association of Tallahassee.

Courtesy: Portia Campos

Music and dance is another major part of what makes Experience Asia so special. This year, there will be two stages chock-full of culturally diverse performances by local and visiting artists happening all day. The highlight of the festival stages each year is a show-stopping appearance by Matsuriza, the Japanese drumming ensemble that performs weekly at the Epcot Japan pavilion at Disney World. Some other performers scheduled to share their talents are the FSU Belly Dancers, the Mau’Oli’Oli Dancers (a local hula dance troupe directed by Nancy Redig), Viva Flamenco!, Folklorico Filipiana, Hallyu Wave (a Korean arts and culture club at FSU) and over two dozen other acts!

Courtesy: Portia Campos

In addition to the hands-on crafting opportunities provided, there will also be a plethora of local and visiting vendors selling their own creations. There will be clothing, jewelry, accessories, handmade gifts and authentic ethnic items available for purchase from various small business owners. Pick something up for a friend or loved one (and treat yourself to something nice, too!)

Last but not least, the food options at this year’s festival are sure to satisfy every appetite. Many local favorites such as Roboto Tokoyo Grill, Real Sarap, Essence of India, Lofty Pursuits and Sakura Sushi will be offering delicious meals, snacks and desserts.

Courtesy: Portia Campos

So besides being a great time, what makes Experience Asia such an important part of autumn in Tallahassee? “It’s a great opportunity to help promote and share the rich Asian heritage and traditions in the Tallahassee area,” says Brown. More than anything, it’s a day for the people of Tallahassee to come together and celebrate the wonderful diversity in our community.

EXPERIENCE ASIA 2019

Date: Saturday, October 5, 2019

Time: 10am-5pm

Location: Bloxham and Lewis Parks (Chain of Parks), Tallahassee

Cost: Free admission

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