Grand Rapids celebrates Asian-Pacific culture

    A child pets a dragon at the 2022 Asian-Pacific Festival.

    May is Asian Pacific  American Heritage month – a time to celebrate Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, cultures that have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success. There are events happening around the city this month.

    Next month, back for its seventh year, the Asian-Pacific festival invites people from the community to learn about and celebrate the diverse cultures of Asia and the Pacific Island nations. Ace Marasigan, one of the founders of the event, shares more about what you can expect to see in Calder Plaza from June 9-11.

    “Friday, we have the grand opening, we have the lion, we have the dragon, we have people dressing up, we have three DJs performing. We got DJ Kohei, he actually sang for ‘Naruto’, so he’s going to be there. Then we have a K-Pop dance cover competition on that Friday; it’s going to be fun.

    “Saturday is like the big day, where all our multicultural performers are going to be. We have Sudden Rush and then we have another band. We even have a punk band to just kind of play along with us. We have the Vietnamese variety show – Saturday’s the whole bit.

    “Sunday, we’re calling it ‘Ohana Day,’ which is different. Ohana means family, so family day. We have more Polynesian or Pacific Island performances on Sunday. We’re going to lei people, there’s scavenger hunts and then the rock, paper, scissors competitions. There’s something going on every day.

    “You don’t have to be Asian-Pacific to attend the Asian-Pacific Festival. It’s just a celebration of the Asian-Pacific culture by the entire community. It’s so important because it’s an opportunity for us to come together and learn from one another. This is an open invite for everyone to come and celebrate the Asian Pacific culture.”

    For more information, reach out to these organizations: West Michigan Asian American Association Inc and the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Foundation.

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    Ever since Pasha Shipp could talk, she's been dreaming up colorful stories. Fantasy creatures, mysterious kingdoms, enchanted forests, you name it. As she reached adulthood, she decided to take the magic out of her head and put it down on paper. Pasha has been writing for Grand Rapids Magazine since November 2015, and has loved every minute of it. She has a master's degree in Communication and a bachelor's degree in Film Studies from Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University respectively. When she isn't daydreaming and writing stories for the magazine, she's exploring the many hidden treasures of Grand Rapids with her fiancé.