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Asian experience celebrates culture, diversity

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

DULUTH -- Emily Grace Venn and Briana Felteau posed in front of giant drums, smiling as they waved Chinese fans while giggling and dancing in anticipation.

The girls, both adopted from China, loved racing through the Asian Cultural Experience event finding more treasures from their heritage.

"We pretty much talk about it all the time at home. But here, they can see it in person," said Amy Venn, 4-year-old Emily Grace's mother.

The girls loved the food, the songs, the dances, the costumes, the drums. The list was long and the event exciting for the little ones.

For their parents, enriching them in their native culture is even more gratifying.

"It's important to us," Venn said. "We're grateful there are things like this in Atlanta so we can provide the experience for our children."

The 2010 event, which was held at the Gwinnett Center, celebrates Asian culture, which has become a growing part of the community in recent years, as one of the fastest growing populations.

On Saturday, the festival featured a celebration with music and dance from 15 nations, and the festivities will continue today with demonstrations in calligraphy, martial arts and oragami, music, dance, crafts, cuisines and more. Admission in $12 for adults, $8 for students with children under 7 free.

Jill Koushwar and her friend came to the event after lunch at a local dim sum restaurant.

"We were out for an adventure today," she said Saturday. "I thought we were so lucky. We wanted to see the dancing and the music. ...

"It's nice to have an adventure in Atlanta, see a little diversity."