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Duluth's Rice Festival celebrates Asian culture

This year, a new event joins the lineup of Gwinnett's fall celebrations. The Rice Festival will be held for the first time Saturday at the Korean Television Network Conference Center in Duluth.

"We thought this might be a fun way to enjoy the day and support a good cause," said Karen Kim, a case manager and the event coordinator for the Asian American Resource Center in Doraville.

Proceeds from the Rice Festival will be used to fund the AARC's programs. The AARC is a nonprofit agency that provides food vouchers and financial assistance for those having trouble paying housing costs. The center, which was founded in 1997, also offers classes in English, citizenship, computers, adult literacy and Asian art.

The name of the Rice Festival was chosen to represent unity among Asian-American communities.

"It's an Asian-American event, but our cultures are so different. Without a doubt, every single Asian culture eats rice," Kim said.

The festival's food court will feature rice and more. But cuisine is only a small part of the event, which includes music, dancing and martial arts demonstrations.

Singer Lisa Ray will perform. A Latin jazz band will play and offer dance lessons at the festival. "They'll be teaching people who come to the festival how to salsa dance," Kim said.

Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese and Indonesian dancers will also perform. A jewelry maker will show kids how to make earrings and bracelets, while an origami artist will teach this paper folding method to those attending the festival.

"We have a variety of things going on throughout the day," Kim said.

n What: Rice Festival

•When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday

•Where: Korean Television Network Conference Center, 4675 River Green Parkway, Duluth

•Cost: Free.

•Info: Call 770-270-2663 or visit www.aarc-atlanta.org.