The Asian Festival began in 1977 when an influx of Southeast Asian refugees began settling in Utah. The festival was to introduce the majority of the population to these new minority groups. The Chinese, Japanese and Korean communities pooled their resources together for this historic event. It was the first time that these groups with different backgrounds, cultures and interests had joined together. Since that first festival, the annual pageant has offered a consistent performing stage for up to 15 different Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
In each case, we have first generation leaders teaching second, third and fourth generations dance, music, crafts, cooking and ethnic skills. The Asian Festival also offers the community a chance to view other cultures in a fun and colorful setting and it offers children of various cultures to see others like them participating in activities of their heritage. For the past seven years, admission to the festival has been free! This is in large part to the generous grants from Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, Parks and The Utah Arts Council and our other sponsors who love and support the Utah Asian community.
Bringing Generations Closer
Our goal to bring generations together is achieved when you see first generations teaching their children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren, folk dances, drumming patterns and costume making. We witness our elders demonstrating calligraphy and children taking a brush and taking pride in their strokes. We highlight the importance of connection.
Connecting the Community
The goal of Utah Asian Festival is offering everyone a glimpse of Asia. We are grateful that we have been able to provide a regular performing stage for the many groups, so that we may maintain the traditions across many generations.
Through the Festival and the fundraising we do throughout the year, it allows us to connect with the community in a meaningful way. Our partnership with various community based organizations that are dedicated to serving our diverse Utahns, gives us the ability to have more impact where needed.
A Celebration of Diversity
The festival’s goal is to connect different cultures and people of many backgrounds to share in the delight of banging a gong, tasting Kim Chee, smelling the different aromas and the fellowship. The children’s activity center has games, hands-on craft and art projects, an exhibit and literature competition celebrating upcoming Year of Pig.
Shaping tomorrow through the work we do today.
We take pride in being a part of this growing and vast community in Utah. Please join us for our next festival which will be even bigger, as we will be celebrating the 150th year anniversary of the Golden Spike. We anticipate the Utah Asian Festival taking place in June of 2019. More details will soon be posted. In the meantime, take a look at some of our past Festival’s highlights.
Dedicated to change.
The festival is organized by mobilizing some 500 volunteers. Our volunteer force comes from ten ethnic communities. We are proud to have been the first multi-cultural festival in Utah. Some of the groups represented have included: Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, etc.
The Bosnian and Somalian communities have also been invited to participate as the Utah Asian Festival sees these groups can benefit from the goals of the festival that is to share and preserve rich traditions of their heritage.
The Festival is attended by 60% Asian / Pacific Islander and 40% of other mixed ethnic groups.