About 200 people showed up to eat gourmet Chinese food and enjoy the cultural performances as the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) hosted their annual Cultural Festival.
Every year, SASE hosts a spring festival to celebrate the Lunar New Year and share the Asian culture with the Mines and Golden community. Co-festival chairs Julie Thao and Susan Tran were the key players in planning this year’s celebration. “I think the purpose of the festival is just to bring some diversity to the Mines campus and to have people enjoy some performances,” said Thao. Tran agreed by adding, “My hope is that it brought SASE members, the Mines campus, and the Golden community together to achieve cohesiveness in the Asian and non-Asian communities.” Tran was also one of the emcees for the night, the other was Caitlin McMahan.
The night began with gourmet Chinese food. A variety of dishes were available including sesame chicken, beef with broccoli, lo mein, stir-fried vegetables, fried rice, and vegetarian egg rolls. As people began to sit down, Two Men and a Lion Head Dance Studio performed the traditional lion dance. The dance usually ends when the “lions” shred up a head of lettuce, artfully throwing the pieces off the stage. This time, however, the lion duo ended the show by dancing to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” adding a new twist on the traditional dance.
The lion dance was followed by SASE Jeopardy, in which members of the audience were randomly chosen to come up on stage and play the popular game show. Questions were asked regarding different aspects of Asian culture in categories such as food and geography. Gift cards were awarded to those who participated.
Following Jeopardy was the CSM Karate Club. Members of the club performed Japanese martial arts, showcasing a variety of moves and techniques. The show continued with a set of traditional Chinese dances performed by students of the Christina Yeh Dance Studio. Each dance featured its own unique music and traditional costumes, representing different Chinese ethnic cultures. The last performance was taiko drumming with the group Taiko with Toni.
Thao and Tran were overall pleased with the results of the festival. “It was a lot of fun,” said Thao. “My favorite part was the little Asian dancers. They were so cute!” The festival did not come without its hardships, though. “The hardest part about putting it all together was booking the performers, especially since it was on a weekday, but thankfully, Susan Tran was able to pull it off,” said Thao. Both co-festival chairs wound up happy to see their hard work come to fruition. “I’m relieved that it’s over because it’s been a nine-month long process, much like being pregnant. I had my baby last night and it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders,” Tran said.
“To those who missed this fantastic event, I cried myself to sleep last night because I didn’t see your lovely face,” said Tran. “I’m sure next year’s festival will be just as great, if not better, so don’t miss it!”