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OUT IN THE CROWD: Cultural Experience to highlight performances from 15 nations

For a second year in Gwinnett, the Asian Cultural Experience will celebrate the rich diversity of Asian cultures, inviting guests to immerse themselves in customs and traditions of Asian communities.

The purpose of the two-day event, now in its 17th year, is to foster understanding and appreciation of Asian cultures. It is the largest Asian American cultural festival in Atlanta and is expected to draw more than 10,000 attendees to the Gwinnett Center this weekend, where volunteers and vendors will showcase the music, art, dance, crafts, food and fashion of Asian nations.

The event will open at 11 a.m. Saturday with the traditional Chinese lion dance processing into the Performing Arts Center, where throughout the weekend dancers and musicians will share their talents.

The highlight of the Asian Cultural Experience is a performance featuring the music and dance of 15 of those nations. Modern classical Thai dance, Philippine folk dance, Indonesian and Malaysian traditional dance and Korean Sogo and fan dances will be featured during the performance, which will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Other highlights of this weekend's full schedule of events and activities include demonstrations of kite making, Chinese calligraphy, Japanese origami and Thai-style fruit and vegetable carving. Attendees will also be able to sample cuisine from various Asian countries.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and admission is $12 for adults, $8 for students and free for children younger than 7. For more information on the event and a complete schedule of events, visit www.asianculturalexperienceinga.com.