38th Annual Oregon Asian Celebration Returns July 29th to Alton Baker Park
10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Eugene, OR — The annual Oregon Asian Celebration celebrates its 38th consecutive festival “Year of the Rabbit” on Saturday, July 29th at Alton Baker Park. This free cultural event features a full day of Asian heritage in music, dance, martial arts, folk crafts, youth activities, exhibits, Asian foods, and a bustling marketplace.
“The Year of the Rabbit symbolizes longevity, peace, and prosperity, predicting that 2023 to be a year of hope and calm,” says David Tam, event director and president of the Asian American Council of Oregon. “It is also a time for self-reflection and compassion toward others and a time to ask, what can I do to make my community better,” Tam said.
Since transitioning to an outdoor summer event in 2021, the event has joined with another Asian heritage event, the Obon and Taiko Festival to become a festival within a festival. The Obon festival’s director Aimee Yogi, explains that Obon is an annual event that brings people together to honor one’s ancestors and deceased relatives. The Obon or bon-odori gets underway from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and features traditional and contemporary Japanese dances and welcomes audience participation in easy-to-learn dances. Taiko drumming is also part of the evening portion of the festival.
Public feedback about the festival transitioning from an indoor admission-based event that was last held in February 2020, to a free outdoor summer event in late July, has been overwhelmingly positive, Tam said. “The summer heat, however, is one of our biggest concerns. This year, we plan to have a giant mist generator provided by the Springfield Utility Board and a watering station provided by the City of Eugene so people can refill their water bottles. We strongly encourage festival goers to do what is necessary to stay hydrated and cool such as, bring a water bottle, an umbrella for extra shade, wear a cooling neck bandana, and bring your own fan, or purchase our $1 Asian paper fans or $3 handheld battery-operated mini fans at the Asian Council information booth, while supplies last,” Tam said.
A full day of performances is scheduled for two stages this year.
The Main Stage near the picnic pavilion features a diversity of performances such as gamelan, koto music, taiko drumming, and much more beginning at 10:00 a.m. The festival closes at dark with a Samoan fire dance at 8:30 p.m.
The Martial Arts stage at the north end near the pond, features a range of martial arts demonstrations and performances from Kenpo, Quigong, and tai chi, to karate for all ages from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
On the expansive lawn between the two stages are a variety of youth activities, exhibits, food vendors, and more than 70 marketplace vendors.
Interactive and hands-on youth activities are planned from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. ranging from a scavenger hunt, Yujin Gakuen carnival games, origami paper folding, to making furry cat ears with Kumoricon, a Portland area Japanese culture and anime convention, and much more.
The Haiku and Tanka exhibit, organized by Skipping Stones Magazine, presents haiku and tanka poetry and art from youth as far away as Japan, the East Coast, and other parts of the country, including Oregon and California.
The Heritage Exhibit, presented in partnership with the Lane County and Springfield Historical Museums features exhibits of early Asian immigrants as road builders, loggers, gold miners, and farmers, and a collection of historic photos and news items about Oregon’s forgotten Asian pioneers.
This year, the Oregon Asian Celebration Art Exhibit is at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. This exhibit is a partnership with the museum and features nearly 30 local artists showcasing paintings, sculptures, and multimedia artwork. The art exhibit runs through July 30 during museum hours.
Food trucks and vendors serving tempting Asian fare and street food include delicacies such as dim sum, teriyaki chicken, Chinese pancakes, sushi burritos, bubble tea, and shaved ice, as well as cuisine from India and Indonesia.
Festival goers are encouraged to ride their bikes and bring a lock. Cascadia Mobility is providing more than 100 bike rack spaces at the festival site.
The festival hours are 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. and is free to the public. For a schedule of activities, visit the website at www.AsianCelebration.org.