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The Cleveland Asian Festival Returns 

When: Sat., May 19 and Sun., May 20 2012
Phone: 216-539-4634
Price: free admission
What do sushi, eggrolls, and Instant Noodles have in common? No, they’re not the menu of some new Asian food truck. What they are is part of this weekend’s Cleveland Asian Festival. It’s the third year and counting for this celebration of pan-Asian cultures and traditions — one that this rag presciently crowned the city’s Best New Ethnic Fest in 2010, we might add — and it’s grown like a sumo wrestler on ’roids: from 10,000 to 31,000 attendees in the first two years alone! This year, organizers are hoping as many as 50,000 greater Clevelanders will drop by Asia Plaza, just east of downtown. What they’ll find is two stages of almost non-stop entertainment, along with a children’s area, a competition arena, health information and screenings, a vast Asian food court, and yes, a sushi eating contest. Headlining the fun is Taiwan-born, SoCal-bred dance crew Instant Noodles, a nine-member troupe that finished in the top five on last season’s America’s Best Dance Crew on MTV. Festival co-chair Johnny Wu says he figures the b-boys’ll flip some switches for the younger set; for the rest of us, there’s always the Lion Dance. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and tomorrow; admission is free, as are rides around the ‘hood on Lolly the Trolley. Maps, parking info, and the complete entertainment sked are online.
— Elaine T. Cicora

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