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By Greg Hugh

A full day event, Taste of Asia, was held from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 24 in the Union Depot in St. Paul in celebration of Asian food and culture and the vibrant Minnesota AAPI small business community. Taste of Asia was open to all and free to attend.

Traditional Asian foods were prepared by over 30 local vendors as well as a full day of diverse dance and musical performances with a variety of fashion shows on several stages. Cultural activities highlighting the rich heritage of our AAPI community was also presented by a variety of Asian organizations and those attending that wished to participate could complete an activity book that challenged their knowledge about Asian countries.

The API community continues to promote COVID-19 vaccination so the organizers of Taste of Asia offered a $50.00 gift card at the event that could be used to purchase food from any of the food vendors by getting the vaccination.

As the lead hosting organization, the Chinese Community Center would like to thank their co-hosts and partners, the Chinese American Chamber of Commerce - MN, Minnesota Hmong Chamber of Commerce and Asian Media Access for their participation. Thank you for making the first Taste of Asia a grand success! Every aspect of the event was even better than we could have hoped for, and we could not have done it without you.

The organizers thank all of the food vendors for providing such delicious food and working to quickly restock amidst crowds that at times were larger than we could have anticipated. We know that it wasn't easy to coordinate with your kitchens and keep deliveries coming throughout the day. You all put the "Taste" in Taste of Asia, and we can't thank you enough for your hard work!

A thank you to all of the organizations for sharing your heritage and culture with our attendees. Your traditional handcrafts, instruments, clothing, and more provided cultural enrichment and family activities that are a central part of Taste of Asia's mission to highlight AAPI culture on a large scale. We hope that you enjoyed sharing your traditions with our attendees and were able to promote your organizations to a wider audience.

To our performers, thank you for putting on such wonderful displays of music, dancing, and fashion. There was a crowd at the stage for all 8 hours of the event, which is no easy feat! I don't think there is anything more we need to say – the attendees loved your performances, and we hope you had a great time putting on the show!

To all of our volunteers, we cannot thank you enough for donating your time and efforts to making Taste of Asia a success. Whether you came on Saturday to help set up the space or were there on Sunday helping us run the event (or both), there would have been no Taste of Asia without your hard work. We are a small team, and we could not have done this without you.

Finally, the organizers wish to thank all of their sponsors who made this event possible. An event of this size is no small undertaking, and it could not have done it without their support. They have heard such great feedback from their community already, and we pass their gratitude on to you who have helped to make Taste of Asia possible.

Based on the official count from Union Depot, there were over 10,000 people coming in and out of the event throughout the day (Our volunteering counters reported 28,300, but there must be some duplicates). The number of attendees greatly exceeded our expectations, and we are so grateful to have had such a positive community response.

Finally, if you have any feedback on the event, the organizers would love to hear from you. Please feel free to respond to them at https://www.cccminnesota.org/


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