Asian-Pacific festival brings cultural awareness to Grand Rapids

Courtesy Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Fest

A celebration of Asian and Pacific culture will return for its six-year anniversary.

The Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival (GRAPF) will be held from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 10-11, at Calder Plaza at 300 Monroe Ave. NW in downtown Grand Rapids. 

The cultural heritage event is family-friendly and will include a marketplace, cultural performances, demonstrations, youth activities, and Asian food trucks and booths. 

Founded by Ace Marasigan, GRAPF celebrates Pacific Islander and Asian-American cultures in a fun, educational environment that is free to the public. 

This year, both days will start with a morning yoga session before continuing with interactive activities such as workshops, photography and community booths. There also will be shopping, food, drinks and entertainment.

This year’s vendor lineup includes food by Bangkok Taste Cuisine, Gallafe, Laos Temple, Sanse Filipino Cuisine, Toastin’ Tea GR and Pho 61. There will be more food options than previous years, including Filipino, Thai and Korean cuisine.

Merchandise vendors include Henna by Design MI, Krishna House, Pacific Island Village, Little Hmong Shop and several others offering locally made goods. 

The festival’s opening ceremony will begin Friday with a performance by taiko drummers and lion dancers, as well as the golden tiger dragon parade. The evening will continue with a cultural fashion show and the start of Pacific Island Night at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Island Night will feature entertainment by Kroon, the Polynesian Indigenous Knowledge Organization, Better Than Karaoke Band and others. 

Saturday will feature a highlight of Grand Rapids resident and veteran Virgil Nishimura, the Filipino American Community of West Michigan Dance Troupe performing at 3:30 p.m. and Hmong Night, which starts at 4 p.m. and will include six hours of Hmong musical artists.

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