Asian Pacific Heritage Festival Celebrated in San Rafael

From top and left: Bay Marin Aikido in background, The Filipino Americans of Northern California Organization, Khun Nai Pat, Judy Huang, Sonoma County Taiko, Japanese Tea Ceremony. Photos by Godfrey Lee.

The 29th Asian Pacific Heritage Festival was celebrated on May 3, 2019, at the Marin YMCA in San Rafael. The Festival was hosted by the Asian American Alliance of Marin. Teresa Ford was the MC.

The festival began with the audience participating in a Tai Chi and a Qigong practice. Tai Chi Ch’uan is the ancient art of “Meditation in Motion”, and helps people to relax and develop their physical and mental awareness.

The Marin Chinese Cultural Association Lion Dance Team performed their Lion Dance. The team, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, is a student troupe dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of Chinese culture through the traditional Lion Dance. They have performed for celebrations and occasions in the Asian community and at the Marin County Fair.

Wayne Huey, an artist with the Red Panda Acrobats, performed his acts.

Korean School of Marin, located in San Rafael, performed their Korean drumming  dances.

Scott Metcho and students from the Bay Marin Aikido, located in San Rafael, demonstrated their martial arts. The school is headed by Hans Goto, a 7th-degree Black Belt with over 40 years of experience in martial arts. Goto was the first non-Japanese citizen to undergo the intensive traditional in-residence training in Iwama, Japan.

The Filipino Americans of Northern California Organization (FANCO) performed two traditional Filipino songs. The association strives to highlight the Filipino identity, culture, and values through participation in their activities and civic involvement in the community.

Joseph Vigneri, an instructor, and two students, from the 10,000 Victories Kung Fu and Tai Chi School performed their martial arts. Vigneri has over 10 years of intensive training from Sifu Jensen, the head instructor and school founder, and runs children’s and adult classes throughout Marin.

Khun Nai Pat did an Indian Dance. Pat immigrated from Thailand 30 years ago and dances as a soloist in belly dance, Bollywood dance, Indian fusion and flamenco dance. Pat teaches Bollywood and belly dance through SF County Wellness Programs.

Judy Huang, of Chalo Let’s Dance, also performed an Indian dance. Huang has eight years of Indian dance training, and has performed with the Duniya Dance & Drum Company. She currently teaches Bollywood dance at the Berkeley YWCA and performs at public and private events.

Sonoma County Taiko performed a dynamic and enthusiastic Taiko drumming performance. The group is 20 years old and has evolved into a very professional performance group.

The festival ended with a Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Asian Pacific Heritage Month, in May, is a celebration of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States. It was first proposed in 1977 to observe the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the construction and completion of the transcontinental railroad, mostly with Chinese immigrants, on May 10, 1869.

For more information on the Asian American Alliance of Marin, go to their website at


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