New Jersey Asians celebrate heritage
May 21, 2007 - 10:36:32 AM

New York, May 21 - Hundreds of South Asians in New Jersey gathered over the weekend to celebrate the South Jersey Asian Heritage Festival.

The festival Saturday featured music, art, dance and food from various Asian countries, including India, China, Pakistan, Vietnam, South Korea and the Philippines.

'We had a good crowd,' said Shashikant Patel, a food vendor at the fest, estimating that between 500 and 700 South Asians had attended.

Patel, who owns a Bengali sweet shop in New Jersey, said he came to the event because he wanted to support the state's Asian community.

'We are Asian,' he said. 'We have to support each other.'

Although the festival was cut short because of gusty winds and rain, organisers were happy with the turnout, Courier Post reported.

'It went really well,' K.D. Patel, one of the organisers, said. 'It was the first one. I hope it'll do even better next year.'

According to census data, New Jersey's Asian population grew from 488,000 in 2000 to 640,000 in 2006.

Jatin Mehta, a local resident, said the festival gave Asians from different parts of South Jersey a chance to get to know each other.

'It feels good to get to know and interact with other people from the Asian community,' Mehta said. 'We all live in the same county, but we don't know each other.'

Mehta also said the festival was a good way for non-Asians to learn about the culture of many of their neighbours.

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