Taste of Asia

About 1,100 people attended Northbrook's annual Taste of Asia last year. This year marks a 10-year anniversary of the event, and organizers have added extra programming. (Northbrook Community Relations, Handout)

Demonstrations of Chinese lantern making, Japanese flower arrangement and martial arts will be added to the menu of festivities Sunday at the 10th annual Taste of Asia in Northbrook.

The festival, which celebrates Asian-American and Asian cultures and is organized by the Northbrook Community Relations Commission, will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the North Suburban YMCA and is free to the public.

New activities this year include demonstrations and workshops on ikebana, or Japanese flower arranging, traditional Chinese brush painting, Taekwondo, Chinese lantern making and the art of origami. Organizers will also show videos about various Asian countries for the first time.

As in previous years, there will be samplings of food, music and dance. Three vendors will offer Chinese, Russian and Indian food, and there will be about 10 different artists, representing Bangladesh, Korea, The Philippines, and other Asian countries.. Ethnic music and dance performances are planned.

At the end of the festival, attendees can participate in a raffle to win various prizes, which include gift cards to local restaurants, said Sue Huang, an organizer..

"There is a lot of things to see," Huang said. "We try to have different activities to suit everybody."

Last year, more than 1,000 people attended -- the biggest crowd so far, she said.

The event originated as Northbrook's Asian population expanded over the last decade. According to the 2010 Census, 11.7 percent, or about 3,875 people, of Northbrook's population is Asian. That number went up by about 31 percent from 2000, when Asians made up 8.8 percentof the village's population.

"It think it's very important to try to understand different cultures," said Lydia Hwang, who will be demonstrating the technique of Chinese brush painting. A Skokie resident who is originally from Taiwan, Hwang said she has been practicing the art since the 1990s. It is characterized by brushes usually made out of animal hair and bamboo and colors from natural sources, such as flower petals and sea shells. Because of the lack of chemical ingredients, the paintings tend to last longer, she said.

Another new demonstration involves ikebana, practiced by Glenview resident Jau-Ling Chou, also originally from Taiwan. The style focuses on simplicity and emphasizes structure and line. Not many flowers are used in contrast to Western-style bouquets, she said.


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