UO helps make 31st Asian Celebration the best fest yet

A Chinese fan dance is an example of the kinds of entertainment at the annual Asian Celebration

After three decades throwing the annual Asian Celebration, organizers have it down pat.

This year’s two-day celebration at the Lane Events Center will take place the weekend of Feb. 20 and 21, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. This year’s theme is “Share the fun, we’re 31!” in conjunction with the fun-loving, entertaining spirit of monkeys and in recognition of 2016 as the Year of the Monkey.

As a true communitywide event, student clubs and faculty members from the University of Oregon will be participating alongside groups from around the Eugene-Springfield area. From open to close on both days, activities will run nonstop.

The featured music performer for this year’s celebration is Pius Cheung, a music professor at the UO who specializes in marimba and other percussion instruments. Cheung, who has performed all over the world, is perhaps best known for his recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations played entirely on marimba. His Asian Celebration performance will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday on the Main Stage.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art will sponsor activities in the Children’s Room, specifically a Taiwanese Theatre “Eight Generals” mask-making workshop both days of the celebration. The museum will also put on “The Dragon and the Phoenix” puppet show in coordination with the Dragon Puppet Theatre from 1 to 2 p.m. on the Atrium Stage both days.

The UO Wushu Team will perform various martial arts exhibitions Saturday, first on the Martial Arts Stage — which is a new addition this year — at 10 a.m., then on the Atrium Stage from 2 to 2:30 p.m. and finally at 6:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. The performances will include traditional martial arts techniques set to music.

Also on Saturday, the Ahiru Daiko student group from the UO will perform Japanese Taiko drumming on the main stage at 5:35 p.m. followed by an international dance and music presentation by the UO International Cultural Service Program at 6:30 p.m.

Along with a jaw-dropping 70-vendor marketplace with Asian food and crafts, the celebration traditionally showcases a historical Heritage Exhibit that tells an untold story about Asian-American history in partnership with the Lane County Historical Society.

This year the exhibit will feature photos, news items and artifacts telling the story of Asian immigrants to the United States and the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans, including the story of UO law school graduate Minoru Yasui, who was recently awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama for his lifelong civil rights advocacy. 

Tickets at the door are $6 for one day or $10 for the two-day ticket. Admission is free for ages 12 and under and for students ages 13 and older, with a special student admission ticket obtained at any Oregon Community Credit Union branch beginning Jan. 27 (limited availability).

The Asian Celebration is sponsored by Oregon Community Credit Union, Kaiser Permanente, Kikkoman USA, Imagination International, McDonald’s, the University of Oregon, the city of Eugene and KVAL-TV.

— By Nathaniel Brown, Public Affairs Communications