Asian American Cultural Festival Returns to Central Florida

ORLANDO, Florida. – The Asian American Heritage Council of Central Florida is back with its Asian Cultural Festival for the first time since the pandemic.

The free festival, which includes music, dancing, food and more, will take place Sunday at the Ocoee Lakeshore Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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“Although we’ve been doing festivals for many, many years…this is the first time we’ve done it after a two-year hiatus. So we’re also starting to learn new things,” said Roy Laurens, the president of the festival.

One of the biggest changes was moving the festival from Fashion Square Mall to Ocoee Lakeshore Center, a space that allows them to hold indoor and outdoor events, according to Pauline Ho, festival auditor and chair of sponsorships.

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She said everything from food to entertainment was featured at the festival, showcasing a wide range of different cultures and countries, just like the painting itself.

“We represent a subset of Asian culture, where we come from, where we come from individually or where our group comes from. But when we work together, we are able to do greater things than what we can do it alone,” said Laurens, who brings voice to Indonesians in Florida.

Taiwan, China, India, Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, among other nations, will all be featured at the event. Guests can enjoy everything from Japanese Taiko drumming performances to Taiwanese kung fu demonstrations.

The board’s message of “Together we achieve more” is also tied to how chairs like Laurens are selected to lead the board.

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“That’s why every two years we rotate the president and we will ask each country to take the time to be the president (of the council). So each of us will take the leadership,” Ho said. We will do our best. And if we fall, we fall together. If we succeed, we succeed together.

Ho added that every year when she sees artists and people from different Asian cultures, she gains a new appreciation for them.

“Even for the Asian heritage, I might not be exposed so much if I wasn’t at the festival. It’s also an educational process for myself,” Ho said. “And I’m sure there will be (an) educational process for many (people who) want to go to the festival, (too).”

Additionally, the festival fuels students’ future education, acting as a fundraising event for the Asian American Heritage Council Student Achiever Scholastic Award, scholarships that are given to students who are active in academics and the Asian American community in November.

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Council officials also plan to score goals for the AAPI population of Central Florida with the help of Orlando football fans.

On May 28, the council will host an Asian American Heritage Night at Exploria Stadium during the 7:30 p.m. game between Orlando City SC and FC Dallas.

Orlando City will join in the celebration by featuring food trucks in the fan zone, video board recognition, special photo opportunities and more.

Ticket prices range from $23 to $33, depending on the package you choose. Those interested can access both events as part of a ticketing package.

For more information on both events and to purchase tickets, click here.

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Darcy J. Skinner