Autumn Festival at Aquarium

Eric Bailey
The Aquarium of the Pacific played host to the 18th annual Autumn Festival this past weekend celebrating Chinese, Filipino, Japanese and Korean cultures. 
Aquarium-goers were treated with a variety of Asian culture through a mixture of dance, marital arts, art and literature in a two-day event that was included with admission. 
Activities included an origami workstation, interactive storytelling for children, and a Kung-Fu demonstration. 
The Long Beach Buddhist Church was on hand and brought a beautiful display of Kimekomi dolls made by students from a public course the church offers. LBBC has been present in 17 of the 18 annual festivals. 
The classes are held every third Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are $10 per session added Ken Kanesaka, the instructor of the class who attended the festival. 
The Northern Shaolim Kung-Fu Association located in Alhambra, which has been a participant in the festival for over 10 years demonstrated a themed lion-dance and Kung-Fu maneuvers. 
“It’s very important to celebrate different cultures,” said Daniel Leung, the co-coordinator of the association. “We show the Chinese culture. The groups here have activities and shows that really demonstrate to the public different cultures.”
Ryujin Taiko, a drumming group returning for their fourth year not only put on a spectacular show of music and dance in the afternoon, but also gave guests the added bonus of interactive storytelling in the aquarium’s Marine Life Theater in the morning. 
Icy Smith, the founder of East West Discovery Press, an independent publisher based in Manhattan Beach, showcased her books geared toward children to teach them about historical events. 
“Even though these are illustrated children’s book, they’re really for all ages,” Smith said. 
Her book “Half Spoon of Rice: A Survival Story of the Cambodian Genocide” is used for educational purposes, added Smith. 
The Korean Cultural Center set up its booth for the first time, offering arts and crafts, giveaways and information. 
“We offer a lot of cultural programs, programs like adult language classes,” said Colin Jang, a representative from the center. 
The festival’s co-producer, Wendy Fujihara-Anderson, creator and owner of WOW! Event Productions was honored on Saturday for her contributions to the festival and within the community. Fujihara-Anderson has been a co-producer of the Autumn Festival since 2001, the first year it was held. 
Other activities consisted of acrobatics, dance, music and an array of themed food and other elements celebrating Chinese, Filipino, Korean and Japanese culture.


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