8 Asian festivals to enjoy in the DC area during AAPI Heritage Month

Throughout the month of May, several communities across the D.C. area plan to host a series of captivating festivals, each showcasing the diverse traditions and customs of different Asian cultures.

WTOP has rounded up eight festivals to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, with each event offering a wide variety of vendors, live musical and dance performances as well as art displays and artisan shops.

Prince George’s County’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration

When: SaturdayMay 4

Where: Harmony Hall Arts Center in Fort Washington, Maryland

Price: Free

The deets: Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with an afternoon filled with live performances, workshops, food and an “artisan shop” with unique finds.

NVA Thai Street Food & Culture Festival

When: SundayMay 5 and Sunday, May 26

Where: Manassas Museum at 9101 Prince William Street in Manassas, Virginia

Price: Free

The deets: More than 30 vendors will come together to offer food, desserts, drinks, souvenirs and more at this festival. Visitors can also expect traditional Thai dances, Muay Thai, traditional instrumental performances and Thai massages.


When: FridayMay 10, to Sunday, May 12

Where: National Museum of Asian Art in D.C.

Price: Free (RSVP recommended)

The deets: For its second year, the IlluminAsia festival will shed light on mental health and well-being in the Asian, Asian American and diasporic community. This three-day festival will include a guided sound bath, paper flower-making, a “Care Fair” and vendor market with food options, plus “empowerment workshops.” Other highlights include a silent disco and a performance by Mongolian American singer-songwriter TMUUN and award-winning artist and activist Madame Gandhi.

Nicole Dowd, head of public programs of the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art, told WTOP, “The goal is just really to create this gathering space for conversation, learning, mindfulness and then, of course, sharing food and celebrating and having fun around arts and culture activities at the museum.”

Howard County’s AAPI Festival

When: Saturday, May 11

Where: Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods in Columbia, Maryland

Price: Free

The deets: The third annual AAPI Festival in Howard County will celebrate the contributions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community with a variety of food trucks and up to 100 vendors and exhibitors.

Heritage India Festival

When: Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12

Where: Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia

Price: $5 per person per day; free for children who are 5 years old and below

The deets: Across two days, enjoy the best of South Asia with live entertainment, cuisine and commerce, including apparel, jewelry and home decor. There will be over 275 booths this year with several vendors from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There will also be child-focused sections with face painting, henna tattoos and educational toys and games booths.

Fiesta Asia

When: Saturday, May 18

Where: Pennsylvania Avenue, NW between 3rd and 6th streets in D.C.

Price: $20 for the dance showcase and free for the street fair

The deets: This annual D.C. festival has been celebrating the diversity of Asian heritage and culture since 2006. This year, the event will kickoff with a dance showcase on May 2 and a street fair on May 18.

Asian Festival on Main

When: Sunday, May 19

Where: Main Street in Historic Old Town Fairfax, Virginia

Price: Free (but those who register ahead of time will be entered for a raffle)

The deets: This outdoor, family-friendly event in Fairfax, Virginia, will highlight Asian heritage through approximately 30 food vendors, arts and crafts and other educational activities, plus live dance and musical performances.

Asia On the Creek

When: Saturday, June 1

Where: Carroll Creek Park in Frederick, Maryland

Price: Free

The deets: In downtown Frederick, expect a variety of traditional performances, plus a vendor market, cultural art displays and, of course, food.

Michelle Goldchain