So this past weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer for this amazing annual event that started in 2010 known as the Cleveland Asian Festival; celebrating different cultures originating from the other side of the world. Every year, more and more people come to enjoy their time and learn more about another culture.
Scope: First year 2010 = 10,000 Attendees
Last year 2015= 45,000 Attendees
You guys….that’s 35,000 more people! The data for this year has not been released yet, but I’m sure it was a lot more people. It sure felt like it.
Want to know why? Well here are just a few reason I enjoyed myself so much.
Now, from every great country, comes great food…and there was so much of it! Indian curry with samosas, Korean bbq, bubble tea, sushi….ugh. I was in a heaven where I definitely indulged in my fattening eating habits. I’m not a picky eater but I do have my favorites….and a lot of them are a part of the Asian persuasion.
(sesame mochi w/ red bean paste)
There were so many different performances and other scheduled entertainment between the 21st and 22nd. The lion dance, dragon dance, sword demonstration, Tradition Vietnamese dance, Egg roll eating contest, K-pop dance competition…and etc, etc.
I caught a few clips of different things. But most of the time that I attended, I volunteered in a different area that was nowhere near the entertainment. Kinda bummed about that, but I did get some footage of my experience there. I will post my Youtube video on my channel soon if you guys are interested.
Then there is cosplay. If you don’t know what this is, it is a form of pop-culture where people basically dress up like their favorite character, typically from comic books, anime characters, TV shows and more. However, this is not exclusive to those forms of media nor to just people who are of or are interested in Asian pop culture. ( Very recently I’ve seen Instagram posts of a couple of girls dressed as character from the Outlander series on Netflix).
I can’t say that I would ever participate in Cosplay, but I did enjoy meeting people who embodied some of my favorite characters ( I LOVED Inuyasha!). They made the event more festive.
4) Organizations/ Merchandise Booths
One of my goals for volunteering for this event was to meet other people who were interested in Asian culture, of course- especially Japanese. Therefore, I knew that there HAD to be groups that had something to do with Japan or its culture in some form. Unfortunately, the Japanese community isn’t so large in this city, so there were very few choices. There is The Cleveland Japanese Meetup group, which was sort of cool ( except the white guy who spoke to me automatically assumed that I knew nothing of the culture, but, when he mistakenly spouted out a few wrong things as facts I kept my mouth shut.)
There were shops, study abroad booths, crafts and so much more. One thing I do regret, is never getting henna.
Are you jealous yet? Well don’t be because this annual event shows no signs of slowing down. You can come on down to good ole’ Cleveland next year in May to be a part of it all.