By: MELISSA SEYBOLDT
Grace and precision in the midst of a full crowd (and a lot of energy) is one way to sum up the Asian Heritage Festival at IU South Bend.
Students, staff and faculty, along with the general public, were invited to celebrate Asian culture in the University Grill on Friday, April 4. This marked the 15th Annual Asian Fest at IUSB.
Hundreds were in attendance as Asian cuisine, fashion and performances were woven into a full evening of celebration. Children, teens and adults dressed in various types of traditional Asian garb could be seen at every turn.
A variety of cultures were represented. Not only China and Japan, but the Middle East, India, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia had their share of the spotlight.
Corey Beron, president of the Japanese Club, played a large role in planning and organizing the event. He could be seen buzzing around the Grill snapping pictures and greeting others in attendance that evening.
“When I became president I wanted to improve our club and I wanted to improve our activity on campus,” Beron said. “This is the best way to do it. It’s a great event. It’s one of the biggest student events that we have each year on campus as far as campus organizations, so it’s a big deal, and I’m really glad that it just takes off every year. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Twelve performances were lined up to showcase different types of Asian dance and traditions, from an intricate Japanese Tea Ceremony to an upbeat India dance.
Dilcia Young performed a Middle Eastern dance with other IUSB dance students. She was excited to be able to participate, and said representing that part of Asia might bring new insight for some.
“Most people, when they think of Asia, they think of Japanese, Chinese… but they don’t think of the Middle Eastern part of it all,” she said.
Japanese Anime characters were represented colorfully by members of the IUSB Cosplay Club, who showcased their own Cosplay costumes.
Student Kristen Pritchett has been coming to the Asian Fest since she started at IUSB in 2005. She was dressed as a Letter Bee from the anime show Tegami Bachi for the event – characters she describes as “mailmen on steroids”
She loves that IUSB holds the event every year.
“It changed a lot from year to year. […] A lot of the dances and stuff have stayed the same, but some of the extra programming that gets showcased here has changed each year, so it’s not all the same thing over and over again. And the amount of people coming out each year continues to grow. It makes me really happy because I’m very enthusiastic about Japanese culture specifically, but Asian culture as a whole is pretty cool.”
The festival ended with attendees singing “Happy birthday, dear Asian Fest, happy birthday to you!”
Cake was served, and Japanese Professor Yoshiko Green led a group of energetic attendees in a Bon-Odori dance to top off the event.