Celebrate the Year of the Rooster

Archive Material

For the latest on the Asian Festival, visit AsianFestivalSA.com.


30 Years of Asian Festival

Institute of Texan Cultures hosts Year of the Rooster celebration


 (SAN ANTONIO) – It was 30 years ago when a group of civic minded Asians gathered at the San Antonio Museum of Art for a weekend program to celebrate the Chinese New Year. What they thought would be an afternoon of Chinese stories and learning about the Chinese New Year turned into something much bigger. In 2017, the Asian Festival will be Feb. 4 at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures.

"The outpouring of support was phenomenal," said present-day festival director Jo Ann Andera. "This event grew and grew, with more organization, more presenters and more cultures coming forward to take part in the festivities. This was a celebration birthed out of the community’s interest and support."

When the community came to celebrate the first Asian Festival, it was something completely unexpected. Members of the Chinese community, and other Asian cultures, along with the rest of San Antonio, came to celebrate their heritage. It turned into a day of music and dance, even attracting a pair of dancers in a lion costume to welcome the New Year in traditional Chinese fashion.

After outgrowing the San Antonio Museum of Art, the festival moved to the Institute of Texan Cultures, using the museum’s grounds, "Back 40" outdoor area, the main exhibit floor and other spaces to showcase different aspects of Asian culture. 

Today, the institute has two stages dedicated to music, dance and entertainment, along with a dedicated area for martial arts demonstrations. On the lower exhibit floor, guests can enjoy an Asian food demonstration kitchen and an exhibit of Bonsai and Ikebana flower arrangements. One of the features this year will be hearing stories from the community about their history and traditions. A "not-to-miss" will be the Asian Libation Station which will feature creative Sake drinks and a variety of Asian beers.

Over the past several years, the festival has continued to attract Asian communities, including the nations of the South China Sea, such as Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It also brought Korea, Japan, and Pacific island nations such as the Philippines. More recently, the nations of the Silk Road became a part of the celebration: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and others.

"Asia is an enormous and diverse continent," said Andera. "There are so many cultures and unique traditions. It’s awesome to give these aspects of our community a day to shine – and they really do. There is no other event like this in San Antonio.  It’s more than a day of entertainment," said Andera. "It’s an opportunity to learn. It’s immersive – it puts you right into the experience."

Asian Festival tickets and additional information are available at AsianFestivalSA.com, $5 for children (advance or gate), $10 for adults ($8 advance). A group rate of $6 is available for groups of 10 or more. Festival coordinators encourage the use of VIA Park & Ride from Crossroads or a rideshare program such as Uber.









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