Asian Festival

ITC's Asian Festival Feb. 4 celebrates Year of the Dog

By Alison Beshur
Public Affairs Specialist

(Feb. 2, 2006)--Visitors to the 19th annual Asian Festival will uncover a variety of special treats at the celebration of the Year of the Dog ringing in the Lunar New Year 4704.

UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures will host the Asian Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4, at ITC, 801 S. Bowie St. in downtown San Antonio.

Those who have attended previous festivals can expect the same great food, music and dancing, and cultural activities for the entire family. Visitors can choose from more than 48 authentic Asian foods. Additionally, there will be Olympic-style kickboxing demonstrations, a presentation on the history of sake and sushi along with a sampling of both, Feng Shui lecture, Ikebana demonstration (Japanese flower arranging), a human chess game, a dog parade featuring Chinese Pugs at 1 p.m. and more.

In celebration of the Year of the Dog, the Humane Society SPCA of Bexar County will be on-site with pets for adoption and will also provide visitors educational information about the dog breeds originating in Asia. The Alamo Forest Partnership and CPS Energy will celebrate Arbor Day by giving away trees to the first 1,000 visitors in a brief, on-site tree-care class.

"We have added a variety of exciting new elements this year," said Diana Smith, an ITC coordinator of special events. "Clearly, the Year of the Dog offers us a fun way to bring our best friends into the celebration. Knowing that we can help find loving homes for the Humane Society's dogs and entertain visitors with Pugs on Parade is a heartwarming way to honor the Year of the Dog."

The festival began approximately two decades ago as a small reunion for local Asian groups to celebrate, cherish and educate the community about their cultures and traditions. But each year, the festival has grown, and in the last six years, attendance has increased more than 40 percent.

"The Asian Festival, as the Asian New Year, is celebrated as a family affair and a time of reunion and thanksgiving." Smith said. "We invite your family to join our family for a day of enjoyment, enlightenment and education."

Admission to the festival is $7 for adults; $4 for children ages 3-12, seniors ages 65 and older and military with ID; admission is free for children age 2 and younger and for UTSA students, faculty and staff with a UTSA ID card. Event sponsors include The Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, H-E-B and Wells Fargo.

For more information, call (210) 458-2330 or for a complete schedule of events, visit the Institute of Texan Cultures Web site.

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