Asia in my own backyard

Many photographers travel the globe in search of exotic places and cultures different from our own; I love to travel but sometimes such exotic adventures happen right in your own backyard. Cultural festivals are a great way to experience another country when it's unfeasible to do so otherwise.  

Here in Orlando Florida I am so blessed to be in a culturally rich city that such festivals happen locally (or in nearby cities) several times a year. Being part of a multi-cultural household the whole family loves to attend these experiences such as the recent Asian Culture Festival held at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall.

The "Asian Culture Festival" was produced by the Asian American Heritage Council of Central Florida and offered a full day of entertainment featuring talented dancers, musicians, martial artists, artists, vendors and of course amazing food.

This was a show not to be missed.

The thunder of Japanese drums echoed down the halls as the crowd waved a sea of smartphones up to capture the sounds and energy of the room

The dragon dance left the stage and circled the halls of Fashion Square Mall, it was very cool to see dragons flying past all the name brand stores a sort of contrast between old a new worlds, it made the atmosphere something very special.

These ladies from Okinawa were wonderful to watch as they did traditional dances, they had a wonderful stage persona.

The ribbon dancers were a crowd favorite, the bright yellow and pink ribbons created a beautiful illusion of complex patterns and and shapes, The children in the audience were in awe.

Dancers from Indonesia and Thailand really brought a unique style to the event; each had a wonderful elegance to their performance.

The Bollywood style Indian performance electrified the crowd with color and high energy music; The choreography was so much fun to watch and the ending with the ribbons and the flag was fantastic.  

An Indonesian performer brought many smiles with his Vibraphone type instrument and some skillful playing.

Of course the food was excellent, flavors from all over the east (my favorite being Indian) but there was also a candy maker there who not only made tasty treats, she made them quite beautiful as well.

I was a bit sad to leave such a great event, it felt like return home too quick after a wonderful trip but at least there wasn't a 15 hour flight to catch.  With a tummy full of great food and exotic melodies still echoing in my head it was a day very well spent.

So if your looking to get away from the norm don't overlook the potential of the communities in your own backyard.

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