Only in Cleveland will you find all ranks of culture gathered in one spot to, of course, indulge in another culture. Last weekend’s Asian Festival proved to be no different, as representatives from all ranks of life, culture, ethnicity and wealth, assembled to sip on Tai tea, listen to an ehru and awe in Asian styles and fashions.
Packed in at the corner of Payne Avenue and East 30th Street, food and novelty vendors filled the Asia PlazaÂ parking lots and location. For those looking to fill their bellies and add fire to their breathe, an array of Asian delicatessen, from India to Japan were available for tasting.
On two separate days, festival goers had the opportunity to witness unique performances, each depicting an aspect of culture from India, China, Japan, Egypt, and even a little bit of Cleveland. Saturday was filled with Dragon dances, martial arts demonstrations and a sushi eating contest. Sunday offered more food gorging with egg rolls, a fashion exhibit and a little hip hop from Cleveland’s FMC.
Souvenir seekers found the clichÃ© knockoff sunglasses and trendy Eastern religion inspired jewelry, among some authentic trinkets. A few of the gems lied in the masterfully crafted rice paper illustrations and cleverly combined urban-asianized art.
For those anxious to be a part of the action, sumo suits provided belly smacking fun, chess boards for the methodical to brute over strategy, and young martial arts masters in training offered proper jabbing techniques for adults.
Festival goers left with their bellies full, their cultural perspective winded, and with a crafted keepsake or a knock off pair of Ray Bans. As they dispersed, it was evident that they left with one thing in common – the glow and smile of a Buddha.