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Asian festival this weekend in South Dade

Music, arts and cuisine from Asia will take center stage at the festival Saturday and Sunday.

By Rodolfo Roman

Special to The Miami Herald

It’s been three years since Johnson Ng visited his hometown of Hong Kong.

But thankfully for him he won’t have to hop on a plane to relive memories.

Ng will be one of more than 10,000 people who will attend the 21st annual Asian Cultural festival at the Fruit and Spice Park, 24801 SW 187th Ave. in South Miami-Dade, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“This is a great way to refresh your mind,” said Ng, who will be attending his eighth festival.

The festival doesn’t only bring happiness to himself, but also to his family. Ng brings his son Derek, 15, to learn about his father’s roots.

“When you bring them to a festival like this you help them know more about their culture,” said Ng, who encourages his son to write an article on the festival visit.

At the festival, there will be about 100 performers including a Persian dance group visiting from Washington, D.C., and the Fushi Daiko drummers, who will perform Japanese music live. There are about 25 acts each day with a total of 50 acts over the two days.

Khanya Moolsiri, executive producer, said the event is a learning experience for everyone.

“The Asian festival is a virtual tour of all the sights, sounds and flavors of Asia,” she wrote in an e-mail. “It’s an enjoyable day for families to experience together at the beautiful Fruit & Spice Park.”

The Asian American Federation of Florida founded the festival, which features over 100 vendors, who sell everything from Asian arts and crafts and typical cuisine. The Fruit and Spice Park is appropriate for the event as it is home to several Asian fruit trees.

Another highlight of the two-day event is the food. Asian food from Bangladesh, China, Laos, Iran, India, ant Thailand will be sold. Food vendors from as far as Virginia are traveling for the festival. Local restaurant will also be selling Asian cuisine.

“The community will get to see cultural performances and taste food from other countries,” said Moolsiri. “Also, they will get to meet and talk to Asian people face to face. It will be an eye opener and education for children to get exposure to different cultures”

For the community, the festival showcases the areas diversity said Moolsiri.

“The festival gives a perfect opportunity for we all to meet and learn about each other culture,” she said. “It will be a very enlightening day”

Participants will also witness a Malaysian no-hands volleyball tournament known as Sepak Takraw

Kids can hear storytelling or see a puppet show. Children can also participate in the Asian passport activity, where they visit different booths and collect stamps on pretend passports. They get a special gift upon completion.

As for Ng, he feels comfortable at the festival.

“You feel more like your going home because of the environment,” he said. “It takes me back to Asia.”

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