People unfamiliar with Iowa may not think of it as a place with much diversity. However, our state is fortunate to have a variety of rich heritage festivals and multicultural events throughout the year. These events highlight the diverse communities thriving in Iowa. I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa, Latino Heritage Festival, Houby Festival, Nordic Fest and Tivoli Fest are just a few of the cultural events happening this summer that bring thousands of people together each year.
Iowa Asian Alliance (IAA) commemorates Asian Heritage Month each year with CelebrAsian: The Annual Asian Heritage Festival. Significant diversity exists within CelebrAsian alone. The festival features 14 ethnic villages including Cambodian, Chinese, Laotian, Karen, Thai, Hmong, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Nepalese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Filipino and Taidam. Volunteers work with local sponsors and community associations to organize an event that draws tens of thousands of visitors each year.
The 12th Annual Asian Heritage Festival will take place on Saturday, May 31 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the State Capital Complex, East Campus in Des Moines. This one-day event is free to the public and features indigenous foods, culture, history, arts and crafts and sports.
CelebrAsian presents a valuable opportunity for the Asian communities to collaborate and connect and gives all visitors a way to experience these rich and diverse cultures. The indigenous food is always a huge hit with attendees and the event features a wide array of entertainment including:
- Cultural fashion show
- Cooking demonstrations
- Takraw tournament, martial arts competition and performance
- Live music and cultural performances
- Family art, children’s activities and mascots
The mission of IAA is to unite Iowa’s diverse Asian and Asian-American communities for the purpose of fostering economic growth and community development within the state of Iowa. IAA’s vision is to create an Iowa in which Asians and Asian-Americans are an integral part of a vibrant and prosperous community.
More information about CelebrAsian can be found at www.iowaasianalliance.com/index.php/celebrasian-190
Iowa Asian Alliance Board Chair
Director of Talent Acquisition and Workforce Inclusion, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield