Antioch celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander community with multicultural festival in near triple-digit heat

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) — With fans, generators and a whole lot of shaved ice at the ready, the near triple-digit heat didn’t keep people from enjoying Antioch’s Multicultural Festival on Saturday, which celebrated the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

“This is the place to come and cool off, right by the water,” said Bonita Edwards, an Antioch resident.

The festival, in Waldie Plaza and overlooking the Delta, brought out live music, dancing, vendors and lots of food for everyone to enjoy.

“We had a steady flow. I think it’s just because it’s really hot today and luckily we’re kind of in the shade here on this side,” said Loree Tabigne, owner of Loree Rose Quartz.

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Filipino small business owner, Tabigne says an event like this — celebrating her culture — means a lot right now.

“I like it, just because sometimes I feel that it’s not seen as what we would normally like it to be seen as. So, when people come up to me and go, ‘Oh, I’m Filipino too,’ it kind of brings a smile to my face,” she said.

With Bay Area cities like San Francisco reporting a 567% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes last year, shaved ice vendor, Joy Ramirez, agreed that events like these are even more important for her community.

“With just everything that’s been going on, it means a lot. It means a lot to be able to be out here with everyone. I mean we’re still in COVID, but I feel like it’s bringing back a sense of community and bringing back a sense of togetherness,” Ramirez said.

TAKE ACTION: Resources to help the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community

With a growing Asian-American population, which now makes up 14% of the city, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe says the festival was meant to promote inclusiveness.

“We have such a rich culture here, that it’s critically important that we, as government, put together a platform so that everybody feels like they have a voice here, everybody is celebrated, and we accept cultures of various backgrounds,” Thorpe said.

The festival gives people enough time to try food outside of their comfort zones and enjoy a drink or two, just long enough before heading back to the AC again.

“Lucky when we have seafood, there’s a lot of ice around, so we’re keeping cool,” said Fiona Epps, owner of Fresh Off the Boat Seafood Company.

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