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Utah Asian Festival

The longest continuously running Asian festival west of the Mississippi

Our event benefits all Utahns, offering a glimpse at how traditional practices have been preserved and upheld in our state.

In 1978, the Asian Association of Utah board of directors hosted the inaugural Utah Asian Festival at the Salt Palace demonstrating unity in our community and showcasing the wealth of traditions and culture of our Asian American communities through performances, exhibits, and food. The festival was the answer to the board of directors’s goals 1) to unify our diverse Asian American communities consisting of historic ethnic groups (Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, etc) in Utah with our new, incoming refugee populations as a result of the wars in Southeast Asia (Vietnamese, Khmer, Laotian, Hmong, etc); 2) to uplift our communities on a statewide platform because previously, each ethnic organization were hosting their own smaller, ethnic-specific community festivals; and 3)to educate the general public about the diversity, experiences, and contributions of Asian Americans in Utah.

The Utah Asian Festival is a program of the Asian Association of Utah which was formed in September 1977 when late Governor Scott Matheson wanted to relocate Southeast Asian refugees from Camp Pendleton in California to Utah. He founded a small seed grant in creating AAU as a community coalition and nonprofit agency with Jimi Mitsunaga, Joe Azarcon, Chung Myun Lee, and Lang Wong as the initial incorporators. AAU began in serving Southeast Asian refugees and has now expanded to providing services to all refugees and immigrants the state.

The Festival planning committee is volunteer-ran by dedicated Asian community members passionate about the mission and history of this amazing event.