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29th annual Asian Festival is Saturday

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For some, the Oklahoma City Asian District might conjure images of giant milk bottles or gilded domes, but the cultural significance is undeniably much more than that.

Officials from central Oklahoma’s largest Asian organization will provide a chance for the community to come together, celebrate and learn more about the cultures that comprise the district with the 29th annual festival on Saturday.

The Asia Society of Oklahoma, Inc. (ASO) also will celebrate its 30th anniversary during the festival.

Ira S. Burrough, vice president of ASO, said the Asian Festival provides an opportunity for people in Oklahoma to display unique customs.

“We encourage Oklahomans of all backgrounds to witness the incredible colors, choreography, artwork and music of ... Asian cultures at the festival,” she said.

ASO is an umbrella organization of nine separate, smaller cultural groups. These local member organizations represent the nations of and people from China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. It strives to foster a deeper sense of community among Asian societies, promote cutlural art and heritage and provide educational opportunities for Oklahoma residents of Asian descent and programs for those interested in learning about the cultures.

Burrough said the India Association of Oklahoma will sell Indian food from Himalayas Aroma of India. Additionally, each country will have its own booth to display and sell artwork and crafts. Henk Edward Saroinsong, the consul general of the Republic of Indonesia, is also scheduled to attend.

“The entertainment competition and demo will be performed by children and adults,” said Burrough. “The Indonesian American Association of Oklahoma (IAAO) will perform a fashion show where they will show a variety of traditional costumes.”

Burrough also said the entertainment demo will exhibit the vast range of cultural performances within the ASO.

For instance, Indonesia is an archipelago with thousands of islands and 300 tribes. Each tribe has at least 10 different styles of dance and is represented by a unique costume for each style.

The highlight of the festival, said Burrough, is the pageant competition, in which 11 candidates of varying ages will compete in one of three different age categories. Each candidate will introduce herself in her own traditional costume at the beginning of the pageant after having gone through a rigorous selection process by country and academic performance. The winners and runners-up will receive crowns, titles, trophies, awards and scholarship money from ASO.

ASO has put on a festival each year since 1986 to celebrate Asian cultures, cuisine and heritage.

Print headline: Gold fest, The Asia Society of Oklahoma celebrates 30 years in Oklahoma with the 29th annual Asian Festival.

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