Utah Asian Festival
July 9 @ 11:00 AM - 8:00 PMFree
UTAHNS, mark your calendars for the boldest iteration yet of the first multicultural festival established in the Mountain West. Admission is free, and the thrilling performances, unique children’s activities, delectable food vendors and engaging booths are just the tip of the iceberg. Founded in 1977 by the Asian Association of Utah (AAU), the Utah Asian Festival (UAF) is the longest running continuous event of its kind held this side of the Mississippi River, showcasing traditions, cuisines, live music and dances from the dozens of nationalities that make up Utah’s fastest growing ethnic cluster. “Founders Jimi Mitsunaga, Lang Wong, Joe Arzacon, and Chung Mun Lee organized the first Utah Asian Festival… their common vision was to strengthen collaborations among Asian communities in Utah and cultivate ties with all Utah residents” said Dr. Shu Cheng, Executive Director of AAU.
“In 2022, we will be celebrating 45 years of success. Three generations of Asian Americans have volunteered to make the annual Utah Asian Festival fun and educational. The event transforms Asian Americans into leaders and consolidates them into a cohesive core in Utah.” Not only will this all-day gathering serve to connect recent immigrants and refugees to the historic diasporas in the region, the UAF is a platform deeply benefiting Utahns of any background, honoring the ways in which our state’s Asian families have preserved, persevered and flourished against the odds; an opportunity to reunite with old friends, make new ones, break bread with our elders and youth, and forge bonds across generations that will last generations. Says UAF three time Chairwoman and community fixture Eunice Lane: “The festival is always attended by thousands of people…it’s the only event where all Asians in Utah come together as one, where we express, celebrate, and rejoice in their respective heritage, colorful and vibrant culture and traditions.” “I first volunteered in 2012, when I was a college student,” said Emilio Manuel Camu, UAF’s co-chair.
“I witnessed our aunties and uncles volunteering their time to ensure that younger Asians could reconnect with their roots. When I learned that UAF originated as an attempt to unify the various Asian ethnic groups, I felt a sense of duty to continue the mission, especially in the midst of resurgent anti-Asian violence and discrimination. Our committee’s duty is to honor the past, remain relevant to all our peoples’ needs, and create durable, meaningful, cross-cultural and inter-generational friendships along the way.” Utahns should know that Asian people have been a part of our state’s history for over 150 years.
In September of 2020, archaeologists from the Utah State Historic Preservation Office discovered remnants of a house built by Chinese railroad workers in modern-day Box Elder County.
Preservation officer Chris Merritt declared it to be “the first Chinese [Transcontinental railroad workers’] home…in the entire nation.” More recently, Utah’s political and civil society leadership has evinced a particular willingness to assist the federal government in sponsoring the resettlement of refugees from around the world. America’s involvement in numerous police actions, proxy wars and overt military engagements in Asia throughout the mid-20th century meant many of these displaced migrants were of Asian descent, be they Filipino, Korean, Viet, Lao, Khmer, Hmong, Karen, and so on – and their descendants have since put down thriving roots throughout the Beehive State. Please join us at the Grand Building of the Utah State Fairpark (155 N 1000 W Salt Lake City, UT 84116) on Saturday, July 9th to honor, uphold and commemorate histories like these, and have an unforgettable, family-friendly time in the process. Gates will be open from 11:00am to 8:00pm. ENDS Please contact Shiya Zeng at [email protected] with any questions, concerns, or requests for clarification.