What’s cool about this blog is that I can tell people about really cool festivals going on in Phoenix. These will be mostly Asian related events because Asian events in Phoenix are hard to find.
Instead of a category-based table, I will just really be posting the review and how I felt about the whole thing.
Before I review this event, I wanted to talk about the great people who organized this fabulous festival. I went to a prior Asian festival a month or two ago and met some members of the Phoenix Chinese Week Festival. They gave me their contact info and I decided to crash their meetings. The Phoenix Chinese Week Committee is organized by a group called the Yee Fung Toy Foundation (named after common Chinese last names). Though I found their meetings a bit long, they really did know how to run a meeting and most importantly, get stuff done. This is mainly because they are about my grandparent’s age and they have a lot of very powerful connections. I really wish I could have helped them more, being the only 20 something in the meeting, and I do want to help some time in the future, but I have a meetup to run.
I invited my group of Asian members (about 30 signed up) to this festival and I was amazed on the interest in this. We all met up by this giant golden panda statue and went to town.
The event is always free and is a great way to see what’s new in town.
I love the settings and choreography of booths. You have a mix of everything. From those strangely placed insurance agency booths, to the great and authentic cultural booths. In the cultural booths, you have art, clothing, and strange Chinese instruments that the people can play with.
Not a lot of free swag if you’re into this. Of course, the insurance and recruiting companies give a lot of bags but that’s about all.
The stage is a very handmade yet authentic piece of work. Hoisted to be what looks like a red gate, the stage is surrounded by cardboard art pieces that represent things like the monkey king. Performances are throughout the day ranging from Lion Dance, to Wu Shu, to yo yo’s (American and Chinese yo yo’s). There is plenty of seating for everyone to just sit.
Near the food trucks are blow up obstilcal courses for the kiddies. This includes about 3 giant slides and those weird ball things where you go inside and roll around in it. I’ve noticed that these have been popping up a lot lately and you can probably find them at any big festival.
About every row will have a specialty store that sells all sorts of weird Asian tidbits. A couple friends, for example, got katana letter openers. Other things like cheap Star Wars or Toy Story lego figures (Chinese knockoffs) were on display as well. A friend and I got a back and foot massage from another place as well. If you’ve ever been to any Asian inspired festival, you see these stores or booths all the time.
I was particularly impressed with a store I’ve never heard of called House of Rice. Apparently, they have operated in Scottsdale for about 10 or so years. They sell food and apparel here. That’s where we got the katana thing. I would love to go and check it out some day.
There is no shortage of food in this festival but I wasn’t really that hungry and I spent quite a bit of money so I only had a couple things. I had a delicious rice bowl from Flipping Rice and some ice cream that was made by a dude in San Diego. Also Snoh was there with some refreshing iced tea. I got the Lychee version.
The Food was split into two areas: you had the food trucks parked on the front entrance area and the food booths in view of the festival stage. I guess you can’t have food trucks on grass. Either way. You can’t go wrong. At their peaks, the lines as huge. I think this time around, the food trucks were shown to be more expensive and had a longer of a wait than the food booths, where most of the food was already spread out. I don’t regret my decision because I can at least make a review on a food truck and not a generic Chinese food booth.
This free festival is of high quality and the organization is really top notch. I look forward to helping the committees a lot more next year to make it even better. This is a festival that I feel has a lot of value and it shows that there is culture in Phoenix, you just have to look for it. Thank you to the Yee Fung Toy Foundation for organizing this event.