Knoxville’s Asian Festival reaches new heights with biggest crowd yet

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Aurora Silavong, News Editor

It all started five years ago with 20 tents contained within downtown Knoxville’s Krutch Park.

Rising above expectations, Sunday’s Asian Festival boasted 200 tents representing dozens of nationalities and cultures. More than 30 food vendors participated, selling everything from Korean beef bulgogi tacos to egg waffle ice cream sundaes. An estimated 40,000 people attended, a much larger crowd than in previous years.

The festival is put on every year by the Knoxville chapter of the Asian Culture Center of Tennessee, headed by Mrs. Kumi Alderman.

The festival’s aim was to celebrate the abundant diversity in East Tennessee and educate the public about the varied cultures of the Asian community.

Among the VIPs present were the delegation from Knoxville’s sister city of Muroran, Japan, Knoxville mayor Madeline Rogero, Knox County mayor Tim Burchett, and the Consul-General Mr. Hiroyuki Kobayashi from the Japanese consulate in Nashville.

Food and public figures were not the only attractions at Asian Festival. There was music, dancing, and cultural exhibitions spread across three stages over the course of the day. This year also featured special performances from groups from outside of Tennessee. A troupe of Japanese taiko drummers from Disney World returned for the third year in a row to rousing applause.

A first for the festival was a guest performance by the demonstration team from the Wah Lum Temple of Orlando, which featured Chinese lion dance and martial arts.

Due to the size and astounding success of this year’s festival, plans for next year are underway. Throughout the year, the Asian Culture Center hosts cooking classes, language classes, and smaller cultural exhibitions. For more information, follow the Instagram account @knoxasianfestival.