June 12, 2024

Asian Festival makes first debut in Knoxville

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Traditional dances were presented at the Asian Festival.

On Saturday Sept. 20, Knoxville hosted its inaugural Asian Festival in Krutch Park. The festival aims to promote diversity while celebrating the culture and traditions of various Asian countries. A variety of vendors set up booths to showcase food, fashion, hand-made crafts and other various products that helped bring a little piece of Asia to the people of Knoxville.

Large portions of the proceeds from the festival go towards the Knoxville Asian Culture Center that helps strengthen the relationships of members of the local Asian community.

Jula Connaster, president of the American Association for Cancer Support, is a fellow member of the Asian community and strongly believes in building connections within her community to benefit those in need of extra assistance during the hardships of cancer treatments. Connaster believes the Asian Festival is an important event for Knoxville.

“I always wanted to see something like this happen,” said Connaster. “I have been here since 2002 and you know I have to go to New York or some other place, some other city to see something like this and as soon as Kumi (the founder of the Asian Festival) said she going to do this I said yes I will support you! And as the president and CEO of the non- profit and knowing people from Asia and Thailand, we always want to get connected to Asian people that don’t have so many friends and family.”

Connaster is just one of the many that is heavily involved within the Asian community and has used the Asian Festival as a platform to raise awareness for her organization.

Lauren Parker, a participant of the University of Tennessee’s Martial Arts Club specializing in Kendo (Japanese sword fencing) believes the festival was unique to Knoxville events.

“In Knoxville we usually don’t have very many multicultural events,” said Parker. “I mean we have some but we don’t have all that many, so something like the Asian festival really exposes people to different aspects of a different culture and different ways of thinking.”

The Asian Festival is soon to become an annual occurrence in Downtown Knoxville and will hopefully continue to spread awareness throughout the local area of Asian Culture and all their community has to offer.

Edited by Jessica Carr

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