CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Saturday's spectacular fall-like temperatures enhanced the positive atmosphere at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre, where a big, diverse crowd shared experiences during the 2023 Asia Fest in Cary.
"Last year we broke a record of over 10,000 attendees. And this year, but with this glorious weather and also with the anticipation and of our vendors and record number of boat dragon boats, we're hoping to break the record from last year," said Tho Nguyen, KPMG's Alliance Director and the Director of Corporate and Community Relations for Asian Focus. "And we educate our North Carolinians and around the United States what Asian Focus is all about. We're here to serve the underprivileged and also, to educate the citizens of North Carolina about the culture of Asia."
Asian Focus is the nonprofit organization behind the annual event. Lily Chan smiled as she described the latest edition of the festival she founded nine years ago.
"It's different nationalities. It's not just Chinese, it's Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, also African Americans," she said. "And the whole intention of Asian Focus is to bring this community together. It's to promote friendship which gap is to using culture, performances, music, and things. That is common stuff. Everybody loves to bring everybody together. Food, you know, everybody loves that. So that there is no divide, just unite the community so that they can bring their families and enjoy."
State and local elected leaders also participated in the day's festivities, where the Dragon Boat Race was a real crowd-pleaser.
ABC11's cameras rolled as the competition on Symphony Lake pitted a crew of local first responders against a team of cancer survivors. While the first responders finished way out in front, the real winner on this gorgeous day is the community, said Nguyen.
"And we welcome everyone to come and join us," he said. "We hold this every year, September, and thank you so much for supporting us over the years. And we're looking forward to many more."