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Presidio Pastimes, Asian American Style

by Karen Anderson

On Saturday, October 6, 2012, the Santa Barbara Presidio came alive with the sound of taiko drumming, conversations about exquisite bonsai, laughter over sushi, and graceful dancing … all as part of “Presidio Pastimes: The Santa Barbara Presidio’s Asian American Neighborhood.”  This free cultural festival involved a wide variety of performers and demonstrators that celebrated Asian American cultures.  On the stage located in front of the chapel, the following people performed: Bob Sidevy, Shakuhachi; Santa Barbara Chinese School, Dragon Dance; Ken and Miye Ota’s Cultural School, Akido with Ki and ballroom dancing; Iaorana te Otea, Polynesian Dancing; Roberta Cook and Melanie Fujii, Japanese Folk Dancing; Sino West Performing Arts, Chinese Dance and Martial Arts; and Togen Daiko of Oxnard, Taiko drumming.  Displays and demonstrations included: Bonsai with the Bonsai Club of Santa Barbara, Chinese brush painting and calligraphy with Suemae Willhite, Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) and sumi-e (ink and watercolor) with Tomi Ito Levin, origami with Gillian and Ken Holm, and kid’s crafts.  We even had two scrumptious food choices:  sushi from Studio Nihon and Sri Lankan-fusion from Culture Shock food truck.  This special event was sponsored by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation and its Asian American History Advisory Committee.  Hope you had a chance to stop by!  If not there is always next year’s Asian American Presidio Pastimes on Saturday, October 12th, 2013!

Also, please check our Flickr page for more wonderful photos of the event.

Karen Schultz Anderson is the Director of Education at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. The Education Department is continuously working on free events at SBTHP sites.  Stay tuned for Dia de los Muertos Craft Day on Saturday, October 28, 2012!



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