This annual event was held on May 17th for 2014 and my wife and I decided to soak it in for the first time. The organizers for the Asian Heritage Festival couldn’t have picked a more perfect day. Mid-70s with a nice breeze and partly cloudy skies. Below is a recap of our experience.
We took the Metro yellow line and exited at the National Archives stop. From there, we walked several blocks up Pennsylvania Avenue and started to hear the noise and make out the many tents and booths set up for the event. There is no entrance fee for the festival (though they make up for it with the food charges inside). We picked the perfect time to arrive since a parade was just starting. The first participants were the Chinese and they had around 10 people simulating a dragon rolling through the event (odd since 2014 is the year of the horse). After the Chinese, the Nepali delegation came through in their traditional wardrobe singing folk songs. The Philippine contingent was next and Miss Teen Philippines was represented in their parade. Taiwan and Tibet were also in the parade but the oddest participants were a group looking like they were from Comic-Con. They were dressed in superhero costumes and definitely looked out of place at an “Asian” Heritage festival.
After watching the parade and since it was almost 1:30, we started to look for something to eat. The event is organized so the first half territory consists of food stalls from Asian countries and the second half are vendor booths selling souvenirs and promoting their culture. Stages are setup up at various spots for performances. We decided to go for some Pad Thai noodles, egg rolls, and chicken on a stick. Not bad but set us back almost 20 bucks. While we were eating, performances were starting up with belly dancing (not Asian but whatever), Indian traditional dances, Chinese artistic synchronicity (seemed the most popular), Thai Kickboxing, and many more. For families, there is also a kids area where they can paint, draw, and stay occupied during the festival. The vendor booths offer many services including henna tattoos, dance classes, and drumming. Unfortunately, Thai massages weren’t offered.
Around 3:30, we were getting tired and decided to head back home. The festival didn’t end until 5 PM and I’m sure it lasted longer than that (Singha beer garden was jam packed). Surprisingly great time with a mix of activities and the entertainment was fun. Definitely recommended for those who want to know about Asian culture!!