checkout complete detailed article on Asia-Pacific Festival returns to Grand Rapids with a dragon parade, cultural fashion show and more
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — For the sixth year, the Grand Rapids Asian Pacific Festival returns this summer to bring a weekend full of celebration, honoring the Pacific Islander and Asian American communities.
The program is packed with entertainment, including a Golden Tiger Dragon parade, Filipino folk dancing and a six-hour evening of Hmong musical performers.
The festival will take place on Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, at Calder Plaza, 300 Monroe Ave. NW, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Each year, the festival brings in new musical acts to highlight the diversity of Grand Rapids’ Asia-Pacific populations to honor those who make a difference in the world.
In 2020, the festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world begins to open up again, this year’s festival is expected to draw a larger crowd than last year’s limited event of nearly 5,000 people.
“This year’s festival is going to be big,” said Ace Marasigan, executive director of the Grand Rapids Asia-Pacific Foundation. “We are talking about 49 different countries, just from Asia, but within each country you have your demographics.”
From the cultural fashion shows, a multitude of food and clothing vendors, and children’s shows to the many performances by Asia-Pacific musicians, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the festival.
Marasigan expects to see numbers close to previous years, he said, such as when the festival was attended by roughly 25,000 people.
Foodies and craft beer lovers will be able to choose from more than 20 food vendors representing a variety of Asia-Pacific cuisines and beers.
In partnership with The Mitten and sponsored by Bangkok Taste Cuisine, the festival has brewed a Hmong-inspired beer, Marasigan said. The founders also brewed a Korean beer to try at the festival.
For a limited list of new performances and activities expected this year, please read below:
Friday and Saturday at 9:30 am
Grand Opening Ceremony
Friday, June 10 at 4:00 p.m.
Taiko Drummers and Lion Dancers performance and Golden Tiger Dragon parade.
Kroon Band and the Polynesian Indigenous Knowledge Organization
Friday, June 10 at 6:00 p.m.
Cultural Fashion Show
Friday, June 10 at 5:00 p.m.
Grand Rapids by Night – Vietnamese Spectacle
Friday, June 10 at 7:00 p.m.
Special entertainment on Friday night and VIP
Friday, June 10 from 3:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Kroon Band and the Polynesian Indigenous Knowledge Organization, Filipino Folk Dances, Hmong Night Preview Concert, House Band: Better Than Karaoke Band Dance Party and more.
Tickets for VIP (21+) Pacific Islander Night ($25). The VIP section Includes a table in the stage area, a Lei salute, three drink tokens, an exclusive cocktail and the opportunity to sing with the house band or karaoke from 9 pm to 11 pm
Virgil Nishimura Moment
Saturday, June 11, at 11 am A highlight of veteran and Grand Rapids resident Virgil Nishimura, who lost his wings in the Air Force because higher-ranking officers found out he was Japanese.
Saturday June 11 at 2:15 p.m.
West Michigan Filipino American Community Dance Company
Saturday June 11 at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 11, from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Six hours of Hmong musical artists. See posters of the entertainers.
Marasigan created the festival in 2017 to celebrate the Asia Pacific community and showcase the diverse communities in Grand Rapids.
This year, she hopes the Grand Rapids community can not only immerse themselves in Asian-Pacific culture, but also educate themselves about the growing stereotypes and violence against Asians.
“Many Asian communities have faced challenges in recent years,” he said. “I can’t speak for the entire Asian community, but I speak as a father. I want our son to have a place of acceptance and honesty. We have to make sure we tell the right story.”
More information about the festival, including a full schedule of events, can be found at grapf.org.
More on MLive:
Kalamazoo embraces biking, plans to strengthen infrastructure with summer projects
Years-long effort to repaint the carousel’s hand-carved animals is underway in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids church closing after serving community for 150 years