Annual Aseana Spring Festival to celebrate India

If you’re ever looking for a fun way to experience Shreveport-Bossier’s diverse cultural scene, the 6th Annual Aseana Spring Festival is definitely the place to be this Saturday, April 27.

The festival is hosted by the Aseana Foundation, a local non-profit group dedicated to creating and preserving the Asian Gardens, formerly known as Municipal Park Plaza, in downtown Shreveport.

Each year, the festival theme celebrates an Asian country and what I’ve always enjoyed about it is how they completely transform the Asian Gardens into a setting that represents the featured country. This year’s festival theme is “Celebration of India,” sponsored by the India Association of Shreveport/Bossier City, and according to one of the organizers, it will be the most colorful one yet.

Aseana Foundation members and volunteers
Aseana Foundation members and volunteers

“We’ve been working for so many days putting up décor and there will be a lot of multi-colored saris all around the park and beautiful Indian lanterns. It’s going be so colorful,” said Dr. Mary Grace De Joya-Vea, who is also one of the group’s original board members when the Aseana Foundation was formed in 2006.

De Joya-Vea went on to explain how they will erect a mandap, or covered structure with pillars, for the staging area. Mandaps are commonly used in Indian weddings and other celebrations. While the festival begins at 10 a.m., the program portion begins at noon with a lighting ceremony, and performances begin at 3 p.m. featuring dancers and music and more.

Of course, a festival isn’t complete without the food and this year’s offerings will feature traditional Indian dishes, like chicken tandoori and gulad jamun, a popular cheese-based dessert. Festival-goers can also enjoy an array of dishes seasoned in curry and other spices.

Attractions will include the bonsai exhibit and a photo station where festival-goers can try on a sari and have their picture taken. “We encourage people to come dressed in Indian attire, but if they don’t have it, they can just try on a sari and take a photo,” De Joya-Vea said.

The Aseana Asian Gardens in Shreveport
The Aseana Asian Gardens in Shreveport

The festival also offers a great opportunity to explore the Asian Gardens. Each garden represents an Asian country, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, Laos, the Philippines, Japan, India, China, Myanmar and Cambodia.

While you’re out there, you might as well make it an all-day treat and visit the Texas Avenue Makers Fair, just steps away.

Admission is free. Call (318) 820-7778 for more information. Learn more about this festival and other attractions in the online 2013 Visitors Guide. For monthly updates on area attractions and events, subscribe to the Getaways e-newsletter at www.shreveport-bossier.org..

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