June 1, 2011
9th April 2011 Birmingham Asian Cultures and Food Festival A Success!
FUN WAS HAD BY ALL!
This year's festival was a great success based on the comments from attendees and the number of smiles in attendance. It also reflected the motto of the Alabama Asian Cultures Foundation: Unity in Diversity. People of many diverse backgrounds and cultures enjoyed the entertainment, food, and the bazaar, and got to know each other and to sample foods they had never tried before. Food from China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam with a wide variety of dishes was available. This year the long lines were not so much in evidence, and there was no shortage of excellent food!
This year, the Opening Ceremony began with a presentation by the YuRen School's Drum and Dance Corps. The colorful costumes and well done dance routines that included drum accompaniment set the upbeat tone for the festival. The Children's Chorus, which is all volunteer and was the largest ever, sang "God Bless America" and "Let There Be Peace on Earth" to the loud applause of the crowd waiting for the Festival to begin. A tradition continued this year with Miss Birmingham, Susan Hamm, serving as hostess and Emcee for the Festival and entertainment. A special guest, Miss Heart of Dixie, accompanied her as did the Pageant Director Victoria Seales, who has been a real friend to the Festival over the years! A Proclamation (see below) was presented by the Mayor of city of Birmingham (attired in a purchase from our bazaar) in the Opening Ceremony, as well as a Resolution (see below) from the Jefferson County Commission – an honor we have received at every one of our Cultures and Food Festivals. The Declaration of April as "Asian Arts and Culture Appreciation Month in Jefferson County" is always an honor we encourage. Miss Birmingham's welcome was inspiring and everyone was ready when she cut the ribbon opening the festivities.
Dancers in colorful, authentic costumes representing The Jasmine Dance Ensemble, and the Indian Natyananda and Notinee Dance Companies (the fusion of hillbilly and Indian worn by the Notinee dancers was a fun exception); an Indian musical group; a presentation on yoga; and a fashion show of most colorful and interesting dress from several Asian countries modeled by individuals who were obviously proud of their native outfits were all well received. Children again enjoyed building and flying kites and visiting the dragon moon walk, and those attending the two workshops by Swami Kaal Nath took away valuable relaxation and exercise techniques and information.
The Board of Directors wishes to thank all of those who volunteered their time and talent to make our Festival a success. They do so because they support the philosophy and goals of our Foundation, and seek to help us bring people together to learn about each other and their diverse cultures. It is our hope to one day be able to present our Festival in our own garden and cultural education center.