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Iowa Asian Alliance announces new location for two-day festival

Posted April 30, 2015 in Web Exclusives

Des Moines, IA — April 30, 2015 — The Iowa Asian Alliance (IAA) is thrilled to announce the 13th annual CelebrAsian Asian Heritage Festival. The festival will span two days and will be in a new exciting location at Western Gateway Park located in Downtown Des Moines on 1000 Grand Avenue. Thousands of individuals and families look forward to CelebrAsian every year and they will be able to enjoy the festivities on Friday, May 22 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. as well as on Saturday, May 23 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“We chose to move to Western Gateway Park because it is central and gives us the opportunity to expand CelebrAsian in terms of duration and activities that will engage an even wider audience,” said Nu Huynh executive director of Iowa Asian Alliance.

This year’s CelebrAsian marks the 40th anniversary since Former Governor Robert Ray initiated programs to allow refugees in Southeast Asia who were displaced by the Vietnam War to live and obtain citizenship in Iowa.

“In recognition of this milestone, the IAA wants to remind Iowans about the impact of these programs and give thanks to the community,” said Thai Burke board director of Iowa Asian Alliance.

CelebrAsian showcases Asian villages that represent distinct communities that live in Iowa. Each village displays food, culture, history, arts and crafts indigenous to their culture.

Friday, May 22 will feature food vendors, beverage tents, and cultural stage entertainment. Saturday, May 23 will kick off with a special opening ceremony at 11am and will feature all food vendors, beverage tents, exhibitors, sponsors and the Ray of Freedom exhibit.

The main stage entertainment will include local favorites such as the rock band Gimikk, the music of Larry Berenguel, Valley High School Chinese Lion and Dragon Team, and the traditional dance and music performances of the thirteen Asian villages represented.

New this year on Friday, May 22 is a favorite passtime amongst Asians, karaoke! There will also be a Bruce Lee tribute to honor the 75th anniversary of the birth of the famed martial artist and actor with martial arts demonstrations. You can then dance to DJ Raj’s Bollywood-style dance party.


At CelebrAsian, you will be able to:

  • Wear traditional attire and travel to a variety of Asian countries in the photo booth
  • View the Japan America Society of Iowa’s newly restored tea house
  • Meet Sartron, an eight-foot robot who provides a mixture of comedy, dancing and singing that will charm all who attend
  • Catch fish during Kingyo Sukui, a Japanese game
  • Compete in the table tennis tournament—registration available on the IAA website
  • Improve your well-being at the Wellmark Health and Wellness Village
  • View martial arts demonstrations and sports such as Takraw, also known as kick volleyball but instead uses a rattan ball where players can only use their feet, knee, chest and head to touch the ball
  • Dance to live music and enjoy cultural performances
  • Entertain the whole family with art, crafts, children’s activities, inflatables
  • Take a photo with mascot favorites such as Hello Kitty, Pikachu, and Kung Fu Panda, Po


In order to host the largest Asian festival in Iowa, volunteers are needed! Find out more info on volunteering for CelebrAsian here:

To learn more about CelebrAsian visit: www.


About Iowa Asian Alliance
Our mission is to unite Iowa’s diverse Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities for the purpose of fostering economic growth and broader community development within the state of Iowa.


We collaborate with the public and private sector to promote:

  • Business & economic growth
  • Community & cultural vitality
  • Leadership & educational advancement
  • Civic participation


In advancing our mission, IAA represents and partners with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities, including but not limited to: Ethnic minorities of Burma, Cambodian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Nepalese, Filipino, Taiwanese, Tai Dam, Thai, Vietnamese, and growing. In addition to the many communities represented, IAA welcomes and has representatives from the diverse backgrounds that define the Iowan community and contribute to the success of IAA.

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