Close to 5,000 people gathered at the New Jersey Expo and Convention Center in Edison to celebrate the Asian American Heritage Festival on May 21.
The “Lifestyle” festival brought diverse cultures and traditions of Asians under one roof and covered all aspects of the life of a typical Asian American family.
The show kicked off with stirring vocal and dance performances and an assortment of performances by children from the top dance academies in the area. There were classical Indian dance performances, elegant and graceful Chinese dances, electrifying Bollywood dance sequences and several fusion dances. In the evening, there were more Indian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese vocal and dance performances.
One of the highlights of the festival was guest of honor Taapsee Pannu, a Bollywood star, and a symbol of women’s empowerment embodied in the roles she chooses to play in movies.
Pannu, looking resplendent in Indian dress, interacted with the audience, winning them over with her combination of intellect, humor and humility. She danced to the tunes of some of her famous Bollywood numbers and thanked sponsors and the audience for their heartfelt response. The celebrity segment was capped off with photo opportunities with Pannu in a celebrity booth that was designed like an Indian wedding stage.
Corporate sponsors, vendors, media organizations, community organizations, dance academies and others collaborated to make the event a success. Some of the prominent sponsors included AARP, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, United Healthcare, Wells Fargo, Asian Real Estate Association of America, New York Life, Mass Mutual, Princeton Healthcare System, New Millennium Bank, National MI, Guaranteed Rate, KWIK Mortgage and Cathay Bank.
“We wanted the Asian American community in the Tri-state area to experience an event that they would remember for a long time to come, in terms of quality, experience and style. And we were able to do exactly that,” Mamta Narula, the CEO of Ultimate Media, the main organizer of the event, is quoted saying in a press release.