Good Luck to Miss Asian Festival 2013

 

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Since 1984, a cultural pageant winner has been chosen to represent the annual Wichita Asian Festival.  The purpose of the Miss Asian Festival Pageant is to give young women of Asian descent the opportunity to discover their heritage and celebrate their culture on the Asian Festival stage.

Last year, the judges chose a 16-year-old girl representing India to be the 30th Miss Asian Festival.  I still remember meeting this young lady for the first time. I thought to myself that this quiet and shy girl had this positive aura that makes you want to be her friend.

Since then, I’ve had the honor to mentor this young lady.

For months I’ve seen Megha Gangadhar step out of her comfort zone and grow as a leader.  As a pageant director, the most rewarding part is to see women grow as they prepare to compete.  As a fellow Asian-American and president of the Wichita Asian Association, the most rewarding part is seeing Megha embrace her Indian culture and seeing her grow as a leader in the Asian community.

As she competes in her first “real pageant,” I know our Asian community is proud and supports her in the journey for the title of Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen 2014.

Good luck to my friend and mentee!

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Global Sunday Fun Day

Here’s a recap of my Sunday Fun Day, which took me on a global tour.

My first stop was in Laos

Before lunch, I had the chance to meet our Miss Asian Festival 2012 (Miss Laos) to buy craft items for the Wichita River Festival Sundown Parade.  As we continued shopping, she told me that she was asked by Miss Vietnam to be a bridesmaid. It made me feel so proud to know that through pageantry, Miss Laos and Miss Vietnam were able to not only learn about their own culture but also learn about others’ cultures, and ultimately form lasting friendships.  For any young lady considering representing a country at Miss Asian Festival 2014, please click here to apply.

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Miss Asian Festival 2012 contestants

My second stop was in Vietnam

For lunch, we ate at My Tho, a Vietnamese noodle restaurant.  Wichita has a large population of Vietnamese-Americans so the Vietnamese food here is quite delicious. Having visited Vietnam, I must say eating pho (Vietnamese noodles), always brings back the memories of my trip to Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang (where Miss Universe 2008 was held).

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October 2008 in Nha Trang, Vietnam

My third stop was in Mexico

For dessert, we decided to go to the NoMar area of Wichita, which celebrates the Hispanic cultures in Wichita.  We visited one of my favorite fruit shops in town called Tropicana.  They serve mixed fruits with some syrup and some chili powder (and sooooo delicious)!  I was telling my brother that it reminded me of our childhood in Guatemala where we would spend Sundays eating local cuisines.

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Tropicana and My Tho

The fourth stop was in India

I had the pleasure to spend some time with our Miss Asian Festival 2013, who is going to represent the Asian community at the upcoming Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen competition in Pratt.  Her mother was gracious enough to make a custom-made lehenga from India and gifted it to me today. I tried it on and loved it!  can’t wait to show you all the beautiful outfit! It was there that I also got to snack on delicious samosas that her mom made.

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Idia (finalist for Miss Ghana USA 2014), Nina (Miss America 2013), Lily (Miss Kansas International 2014), and Megha (Miss Asian Festival 2013)

The final stop started in Japan and ended in Haiti

Our young professionals service group (Rotaract Club of Wichita) met and ate Hana Cafe, a Japanese restaurant in Old Town Wichita.  The main reason for our meeting was to start working on the Third Annual Pub Crawl to raise funds to provide clean drinking water for school children in Lambert, Haiti. Please mark your calendars for Saturday, November 22 to help with this fundraiser. Details on the event will be posted on the Facebook event page.

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Committee photo at the Second Annual Pub Crawl

Today, it became even more apparent that my community is diverse and global, right here in the heart of the U.S.A.

-Lily