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'Celebrating our community': Second annual Asian Cultural Festival held in Downtown Berkeley

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Community members gather at Civic Center Park in Downtown Berkeley for the second annual Asian Cultural Festival, showcasing diverse performances, food and crafts from various Asian groups in the Bay Area.


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APRIL 25, 2023

The East Bay community celebrated its second annual Asian Cultural Festival at Civic Center Park in Downtown Berkeley on Sunday. Groups came from all over the Bay Area to participate in the festivities.

Starting at 11 a.m., the Asian Cultural Festival celebration showcased nine different groups, all of which performed different dances or songs “celebrating Asian culture,” according to Wangmo Dixey, executive director of Dharma College.

“It’s giving a sort of sense of joy to the people of Berkeley by celebrating our community and our diversity,” Dixey said. “It’s a chance for us to come together and have a great time with food, culture and craft.”

The festival also provided Asian food from different countries, including traditional Tibetan momos, similar to dumplings. Attendees were able to watch workers make momos live.

Booths from different cultural groups and communities lined the park, handing out pamphlets and flyers for their organizations. One booth also gave free COVID-19 vaccines.

Some booths sold trinkets and traditional items such as incense and jewelry. Local Asian artists had art exhibit booths to sell art at the festival. Crafts, like making traditional Tibetan prayer flags, were also available for guests.

Dharma College worked with Downtown Berkeley Association to make the festival possible, according to CEO of Downtown Berkeley Association John Caner.

“This is all about partnership and communities working with Dharma College and the wider Asian community, and that’s how we build our events and programming downtown,” Caner said. “Our programs are possible through partners like Dharma College, like the Bay Area Book Festival.”

This celebration ended the festival with an international Tipitka. The Tipitka included a keynote Dharma address on wisdom.

The Asian Cultural Festival is looking to expand membership to more Asian cultural groups in the Bay Area, according to Dixey. She added that cultural student organizations are welcome to join the festival next year.

Image of performers at the Berkeley Asian Cultural Festival
(Clarissa Arceo/Staff)

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APRIL 25, 2023