Friday, September 21, 2007

Milwaukee Launches New Asian Festival this Weekend

With its long, hard winters, the city of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan really lets its hair down during the summer months, and has come to be known in the region as the city of festivals for its chock-a-block series of food, ethnic, music and fireworks fests that run in its parks and public squares pretty much every weekend. In years past, Asian Moon Fest, generally held in April, kicked off the seasonal celebrations, gathering a diverse array of Asian American cultural, culinary, and social organizations from throughout the region at the city’s massive lakefront Summer Fest complex.

For the past two years, however, the city has lacked a pan-Asian cultural festival. So, a coalition of local organizations and business sponsors banded together to launch a new event this year -- Silver City’s Asian Festival: East Meets West National – to be held this weekend on September 22, from 10AM – 6 PM.

The celebration has moved away from the highly commercialized lakefront, finding a home in the city’s southern neighborhood, home to a significant and vibrant, mostly Southeast Asian American community. In many ways, “taking it to the streets” may be more beneficial for the community, bringing visitors to its commercial heart. On the schedule is a parade, martial arts program, dance performances in many ethnic styles, kids’ events, raffles for Milwaukee Bucks and other goodies.

On the more serious side, a noon screening of the film Who Killed Vincent Chin? by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Pena will bring some focus to the issue of hate crimes, which has been freshly on the minds of Asian Americans throughout the region following recent incidents in the Wisconsin Northwoods area. The screening is contributed by the national organization Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, which has been organizing a series of townhalls on hate crimes nationwide throughout this summer, in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the murder of Detroit autoworker Vincent Chin.

For more information and full schedule of events, times and locations, see or the MySpace page, or download the Vendor Packet in PDF format.

Other links of sort-of-related interest at IMDiversity & Elsewhere: