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Winnie Kho Kaplan is the Steering Committee for the Asian District, Mesa and very passionate in promoting the Asian Culture, Commerce and Community locally and internationally.Excellent Service Award from Scottsdale City Mayor Jim Lane and Arizona Asian American Association in recognition of outstanding achievement in serving the community at the Asian Festival.
Asian Festival hosted another successful event The Culture Night on Saturday, Jan 28 at Mesa Community College. Congressman Greg Stanton, Mayor Kevin Hartke from City of Chandler, Mayor John Giles, Vice Mayor Francisco Heredia, and Former Vice Mayor David Luna from City of Mesa who came to celebrate the Lunar New Year with crowds of thousands. Organizer had estimated more than 20,000 people. Almost all vendors running out of their food and stocked items. Long line of people waiting to get the taste of home make buns from Hot Bamboo, drinks from Mango Rabbit, Boba from Fire Tiger & Tiger Sugar and donuts from Mochinut (Tempe). Highlights of the night include the Lion Dance from World Martial Arts Academy, Famous Ken Koshio Taikon Drum, International Jazz Music, Cultural performances from Kelly Phong (Chinese), Suzuyuki Kai (Japanese) and Arirang Korean. Beautiful colorful dances from Desert Rose (Gypsy) and Swing Dance. Culture Night created a great experience that people want to come back again.
“This is our first time in Arizona enjoying the Lunar New Year and we wanted to take my daughter out to the festivities,” said Khoi Mai.
Census data shows the Asian population has been growing in the Mesa area.
In 2020, the city named a two-mile stretch on Dobson Road the Asian District which has about 70 Asian-owned businesses in the area.
Vendors told ABC15 they like sharing their culture by celebrating the Lunar New Year.
“So we usually celebrate it in China — and then we’ll bring dumplings to everyone, dumpling means good luck today so that’s why we’re cooking dumplings for everyone right now,” said Honglin Zhu.
Organizers said they plan on bringing the event back next year.”Yeah. This has been good. Thousands of people have come down,” said Dr. Steve Kaplan, one of the people that helped create the event.According to Kaplan, sponsors have already expressed interest in doing more in the future.He told ABC15 he hopes more people will show an interest in other cultures.
“So a lot of people know about one Asian culture or another but they’re very, quite different,” he added.
Event Program Unveiling of Signage for Asian District, Mesa Celebrating Lunar New Year Main Stage for Opening Ceremony and performances.
Event Program 9.00 am Event Open. 9.15 am Welcome guests for morning coffee and media interview 9.30 am Cultural Performances