On Saturday morning, I woke up feeling as if a boxing match was taking place in my head. The night before I went to Local 16 with friends and had a fabulous time (I’ll definitely be back there for the lovely view on their rooftop deck), but I already had the beginnings of a cold coming on. So it wasn’t much of a surprise to wake up to a very stuffy nose and the feeling that I swallowed a cheese grater (mmmmm….cheese). No one, however, has ever accused me of always making sound life decisions. Instead of staying in bed with a book, a cup of tea and some soup, I headed out to the 3rd Annual Fiesta Asia with James.
The festival was held on Pennsylvania Avenue, in direct site of the Capitol Building. Even though I have lived in this city for a year (May 15th was my one year DC anniversary!), I still stand in awe of the Capitol every time I see it. The festival was an all day affair, spanning the many cultures of Eurasia, but I wasn’t really left with a great impression. There were some very interesting demonstrations and exhibits and of course lots of food, but it left a lot to be desired. I will, however, focus on the good and ignore the bad (I’m still trying to figure out what a young girl singing “Find Your Soulmate” had to do with Eurasia).
One of my favorite booths was the Kazakhstan exhibit. Considering the number Borat did on this small country’s “reputation”, I think they felt they had something to prove. The booth displayed not only the history of the country, but the different cultural aspects of it as well. This included a performance by musicians and individuals dressed in traditional clothing.
The Freer & Sackler Gallery, a part of the Smithsonian, also had an exhibit at the festival. And I must admit, I was very happy to find out more about it. I didn’t know much about the gallery or its exhibits, so it was a pleasant surprise to find this gem. And the fact that they were giving out free publications (and not brochures…I got a book chronicling the letters between Charles Lang Freer and James McNeill Whistler) didn’t hurt my opinion!
The advertisements for the festival touted a cooking demonstration, something I was really looking forward to the most. The booth was swamped with people and a television crew, so it was very hard to get a good look at it. I only saw the demonstration for a spicy chicken wing, but there was also one for spring rolls (which both James and I thought were taquitos) and a pork dish I still can’t figure out.
I think my favorite part of the whole festival was the dragon dance put on by a local martial arts academy (I never quite caught the name). From what I gathered, the dance was performed by students at the academy, which I thought was a great way to encourage children to explore different cultures.
Overall, the festival was a great way to pass a Saturday afternoon, partly because it was free. And this is why I love DC: there is always something to do, even if you should be at home on Nyquil.