Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Asian Fest 2015 a chances for cultures and faiths to shine


The annual Asian Fest, presented by the Asian American Alliance, Inc. (AAAI) at the Indiana State Museum in Downtown Indianapolis on Saturday, June 20 lived up to its billing as a fun and family-friendly affair that offered “the sights, sounds, and tastes of Asia without leaving Indy.” The Festival, a signature event of AAAI, attracted a multicultural and multi-generation audience of several thousand who enjoyed the colorful cultural performances in the Museum Auditorium; cultural exhibits, children’s activities, and fascinating Asian merchandise: brocaded silks, beautiful hijabs, costume jewelry, fashion accessories, arts and crafts from many Asian traditions in the Museum’s Central Hall; and the delights of several Asian Cuisine: popular dishes and delicious preparations outside on the promenade that runs along the canal that flows on the north side of the Indiana State Museum.

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The exhibitors and guests in the Central Hall were entertained by Chinese musicians, Bollywood Flash Mob, and cultural displays. Inside the auditorium, packed audiences enjoyed Indian classical Kathak Dance and Bollywood dances, Philippine Dance, Chinese Orchestra, Rajasthani Dance, Sayaw Philippine Cultural Dance, and other contemporary fusion dances. Honorable Diego Morales, Special Assistant to Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and Jane Gehlhausen, Director of Cultural and International Affairs in the Office of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, addressed the audience and assisted AAAI President Rupal Thanawala with the presentation of scholarships to four outstanding high school students. To date, AAAI has given over $85,000 in scholarships to Indianapolis Public School (IPS) and Asian American students over the last ten years.

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Our senses were treated to traditional festive attires, conversations in many languages, a friendly spirit and pride of being American, and everyone experienced a little of Asia in and around us. This was an opportunity to learn about, develop respect and appreciation for cultures different from our own that are our neighbors and form the cultural and spiritual fabric of Indiana today. We hope that the Asian Fest 2016 will be bigger and better as the State of Indiana will mark and celebrate the Bicentennial year of Statehood.

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Asian Fest 2015 was sponsored by Telamon, McDonald’s, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, Kroger, PNC Bank, INTLCTR, Indiana State Museum, NUVO, Indianapolis Foundation, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, and K.P. Singh Designs. The AAAI Board Members and volunteers, under the leadership of Julie Kurosawa and Young-Hee Yedinak as the Asian Fest Co-Chairs, spent countless hours to make the Asian Fest successful and fun. The thousands who attended the Asian Fest provided the heart and soul to this beautiful presentation. I take this opportunity to congratulate everyone. ……. Indianapolis, Indiana USA <> <> June 22, 2015

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