Edina Asian American Alliance hosts its first AAPI Festival


Olivia Wegmann-Krider

EHS students explore tables at the AAPI festival dedicated to lettering.

Aditya Suresh, multimedia coordinator

On May 27, the Edina Asian American Alliance (EAAA) hosted its first annual Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Festival. Going into the festival, the group hoped to inaugurate a celebration of the diverse Asian American population in Edina. People gathered to commemorate the beauty of Asian American and Pacific Islander culture. “Through the festival, we hope to make our Edina AAPI community visible and celebrated in a new, empowering way,” EAAA leader Kelly Condit-Shresta said.

The festival had an array of entertainment options for its participants including featured speeches from community leaders such as Edina’s House Representative Heather Edelson and the India Association of Minnesota’s (IAM) President Tanwi Prigge. Additionally, the festival had performances from the DTG Lions, TaikoArts Midwest, Edina’s Desi Dance Group, and more. 

Surrounding the main pavilion were a variety of stalls that represented the distinct cultures found in the Asian diaspora. From Indians to Tibetans, the stalls showed off their diverse culture through various foods or drinks. “My favorite stall has to be the IAM stall because of their mango lassi. Very delicious,” junior Raja Chinnakotla said.

The conversation surrounding the AAPI community has been centered on the injustices that they’ve faced in recent months, most notably the incident involving students from Edina High School in the spring of 2022. With this festival, EAAA is looking to move away from this heavy discussion and exchange it for celebration and joy. Participants at the festival discussed the fact that they felt proud of their heritage. “The importance of AAPI to me is that it’s my culture. Being Asian and having this type of event means that I can express my culture freely,” Chinnakotla said.

Looking towards the future, EAAA hopes to make this a recurring event. “We had a solid 400 attendees for this first festival, and such positive feedback for the good times that everyone had. I think this is a good indication for an annual event that keeps growing to be more fun and inclusive and representative of our diverse community,” Condit-Shresta said. Members of EAAA hope to grow the festival and expand the number of speakers and performers in the coming years.