Year of the Monkey

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Year of the Monkey

Institute of Texan Cultures prepares for Asian Festival


SAN ANTONIO – "There’s no better way to understand a culture than to experience it for yourself," said Asian Festival director Jo Ann Andera, as she worked through her festival participant roster. It’s a comprehensive list, with dozens of organizations and individuals set to gather at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures on February 13 for the 29th annual Asian Festival.

Scheduled to follow the Lunar New Year, observed in China, the local Asian Festival includes cultures the from the Indian Sub-continent, the Southeast Asian Peninsula and island nations of the Pacific.

"When this started 29 years ago, it opened the door for San Antonio’s diverse Asian communities to come forward and be recognized," said Andera. "San Antonio embraced these communities and their traditions and we celebrate together as one united city."

The Asian Festival includes two stages for music, dance and entertainment. H-E-B’s children’s arts and crafts tent will feature hands-on activities reflecting the Year of the Monkey. A martial arts demonstration area showcases a variety of styles, from "hard" styles like Karate, the "soft" styles like Tai Chi, and other exotic forms such as swordsmanship and Sumo.

Lectures offer a perspective on aspects of Asian life, such as meditation and Chinese medicine. In keeping with the Year of the Monkey theme, the San Antonio Zoo and the Texas Biomedical Institute will offer lectures on their work with monkeys.

A variety of food offerings are available, including an Asian Libation Station for the 21-and-up crowd, featuring a selection of Asian beers and sake. New this year, a Korean food truck, "Chong’s," will participate, with a menu of Korean street foods.

"It’s an adventure and experience," Andera says of the festival. "It’s a chance to get to know parts of the community we might not see every day. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the traditions these cultures have brought with them and added to our own Texan identity. There’s simply no other event like this."

The Asian Festival is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13. Admission is $10 for adults ($8 advance), $5 for children ($5 advance), with group pricing available (online, in advance only). Tickets are available via, area H-E-B locations, the local military bases and the Institute of Texan Cultures museum store. VIA will provide Park & Ride services from the Crossroads location and Uber rides are available with the discount code TXASIAN. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit




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