4th annual Rice Festival set for Saturday

NORCROSS - Got rice? If you'd like to understand better what that means then a trip might be worth your while to the 4th annual Rice Festival, scheduled for Saturday at the Carter Oaks Shopping Center.

According to Steve Lee, a spokesman for the nonprofit Asian American Resource Center, which sponsors the event, rice symbolizes prosperity, goodwill, bounty after hard work and health, all attributes the AARC wishes to promote within Atlanta's immigrant population.

"Rice is a staple food in the Asian culture and it sustains life," Lee said. "In some countries, people greet each other by literally saying, 'Have you eaten your rice today?' It's sort of like asking 'How are you doing?' But it's our fundraising event and it's open to any person."

Funds raised at the festival will be used by the AARC to administer its various programs that assist immigrants with adjusting to life in the United States. Lee said these services might include transitional housing programs, English as a second language courses or social service programs that aid in homeless prevention. Lee also said the event will allow guests to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Asia without ever leaving Gwinnett County.

"The entire Asian community of Atlanta will be present and we'll have some foods and some dancing and singing performances," Lee said. "It will be an active day and we hope to increase cultural awareness and encourage communication and cooperation within the diverse Atlanta Asian-American community."

SideBar: If You Go

What: 4th annual Rice Festival

Where: Carter Oaks Shopping Center, 5495 Jimmy Carter Blvd., Norcross

When: Saturday, October 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.