Crossroads of cultures

Anna C.K. Smith // The Torch
An attendee makes a donation to the Chinese American Benevolent Association during the Lion Dance at the 33rd Annual Asian Celebration. “It goes to a good cause,” he said.

The 33rd Annual Oregon Asian Celebration came together this year on Feb. 17 and 18 to celebrate the year of the dog. The theme for the weekend was “Bark to the Future.” From taiko drumming to a traditional Chinese Lion Dance, visitors filled the Lane Events Center with a buzz of excitement.

“The Asian Celebration really is our once-a-year family reunion where we all get together and give hugs and kisses and say hello and chit-chat and catch up,” said David Yuen Tam, director of the Celebration.

People got together over steamed buns, bubble tea and an array of other foods to celebrate the variety of Asian cultures. A constant display of martial arts could be seen on the main stage where the food was being served. There were also music performances, dances, fashion shows and traditional art displays.

One of the featured art displays was by Melissa “Mimi” Nolledo, a Eugene photographer and digital artist. Nolledo showcased a series of photographic essays that told the many stories of what it’s like being an immigrant in America from community members.

Diana Baker // The Torch
Attendees of the 2018 Asian Celebration view an art exhibit by Melissa “Mimi” Molledo entitled “Our Stories: Immigrants of America”. The award-winning exhibit, first shown at the 2017 Asian Celebration, features photos and stories of community members.

“My goal is that through these photographic essays, we may build bridges of hope, strength and courage to inspire the people around us to see that despite our differences, we are connected and similar in so many other ways,” Nolledo said in a statement ahead of the event.

“It’s a good time to meet people”, said Larry Kikuta, a member of the Japanese community in Eugene. “This [celebration] shows the non-Asian community the variety of Asian groups that we have in Eugene. It’s evolved over the last few years and it’s nice to see people having a good time here.”