<b>YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea</b> - First Signal Brigade hosted a community festival to celebrate the cultures of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans May 31 at Camp Coiner.

More than 200 people gathered to enjoy heritage performances, traditional food and fun set to this year's national theme of "Leadership, Diversity, Harmony - Gateway to Success."

"This is a perfect time to help people who are not of the Asian Pacific culture to be aware of the culture diversity and also an opportunity for Asians and Pacific Islanders to show them off with pride," said Sgt. 1st Class Sharon Hill, 1st Signal Brigade equal opportunity advisor.

An array of cultural displays highlighted Asian handcrafts, brochures and guides to tourist attractions. The festival also featured a wide assortment of food tasting from Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean and Samoan kitchens. A pig roasted in the ground Samoan style was the favorite cuisine of the day. Meanwhile, bouncies, horseshoe throws and piAfA+-atas entertained children.

"My wife, kids and I have had a wonderful time ... an opportunity to experience various interesting cultures," said 1st Signal's Capt. Michael Maddox. "This is a chance see the bonds between different diversities we have in our country."

Korean performers energized the stage with a traditional drum show and umbrella dance, called from An-sung Hyang-dang-mu. Yoo Chung-ja, director of the An-sung Korean classical music organization, said, "We are honored and glad to share our dynamic culture with others."

Students from Seoul American High School and Seoul American Elementary School performed a Filipino Tinikling bamboo stick dance and the Itik-Itik steps depicting the movement of ducks. Other Filipino performances included the Pandanggo Sa Ilaw, the "dance with lights" exhibited by balancing lighted candles in each hand.

Ella Catineau, one of the Filipino dancers, said the performers practiced for three weeks and even made their own costumes.

"Many of us spent late nights preparing the traditional dishes," she said. "We want to give the spectators an idea about who we are and that we love to dance and sing and have a good time."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16