The opening sights and sounds of Asia Fest 2015. Nat. Sound Video runs: 4:04
0:48 Dr. Kimi Springsteen, Asian Community Liaison to Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners, Founder of Asia Fest Tampa Bay and the Asian American Coalition of Florida
1:55 Andrew Sway, Asian American Coalition of Florida
2:08 Mayor Bob Buckhorn, City of Tampa
Asia Fest Tampa Bay and the International Dragon Boat races drew hundreds of people to downtown Tampa on Saturday, April 25th. The festival and races were at Cotanchobee Park near Amalie Arena. Both events kicked off the 32 anniversary celebration pf Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders.
For the past 32 years, volunteers of the Asian American Coalition of Florida, a non-profit, coordinate the festival in the Tampa Bay area. The Asian festival represents 15-16 Asian and Pacific Island countries to celebrate the different Asian cultures, diversity and freedom in the United States.
Asian Pacific Heritage Month started with a congressional resolution in June 1977 that called for the president to proclaim the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill. On October 5, 2978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution making it an annual celebration. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed an extension that made Asian-Pacific Heritage Week into a month. Now the month of May is by law, designated as Asian-Pacific Heritage Month across the United States. Asian communities in many states, including Florida, will have festivals and events in May to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
May was chosen to remember the first Japanese to immigrate to America on May 7, 1843 and to pay tribute to the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. Most of the workers were Chinese immigrants who laid the railroad tracks.