On May 8 the City of Plano will issue a proclamation declaring it Asia Day here. This important date coincides with Plano AsiaFest, a family-friendly festival that celebrates Asian American heritage. AsiaFest has occurred in Haggard Park every May for the past 18 years – except for last year – and this time it will be presented online. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that Saturday, and is free for the public to watch.
“We’re excited and interested to gauge the success of it. It could inform the way we promote the event in the future,” says Feroz Alpaiwalla, AsiaFest chairman. The event is organized by the Celebrating Asian American Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit all-volunteer organization.
This year’s festival will include some familiar activities that locals have grown to love. There will be both livestreamed and prerecorded performances showcasing traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese dance, as well as martial arts, cooking, calligraphy, flower arranging demonstrations and a magic show.
AsiaFest has garnered a large following that stretches to nearby towns, counties and even states. The virtual format this year will allow faraway attendees to participate.
“This festival gives the viewers an idea of the art, culture and flavors from various Asian countries condensed in a short amount of time,” says Alpaiwalla.
In addition to entertainment, there will be helpful information sessions available for the audience. This includes a question-and-answer session in which the Plano police department will educate viewers on how to protect themselves.
Dr. Francis Lung will also be holding an information session about breast cancer. “There are a lot of barriers for Asian-American women. Information does not flow as well because of language issues, so Dr. Francis Lung will provide information about where people can go to get exams,” Alpaiwalla says.
Visitors can also enjoy the AsiaFest Art Exhibition in the lobby of the Courtyard Theater throughout May. In lieu of event food vendors typically available, AsiaFest encourages attendees to support local Asian restaurants on festival day.
Photos from Plano AsiaFest 2017, 2018 and 2019