Asian Food Festival debuts this weekend at Orleans


Food, music, fashion, culture and handicrafts from nine Asian countries will be featured in the first Asian Food Festival and Trade Show on Saturday and Sunday at The Orleans, said Noel Casimaro, festival founder and chairman.

The 30 food vendors, he said, will be selling Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Filipino, Japanese, Polynesian and Malaysian food.

"We were very selective with the restaurants we chose," Casimaro said. "Mainstream to mom-and-pop."

The festival also will include cultural entertainment such as Chinese lion dancing and Japanese taiku drums, headline entertainment from recording artist Stevie B and local entertainers Zowie Bowie and Frankie Moreno and an array of carnival rides.

Casimaro said he was inspired to create the festival after he twice served as vice chairman for the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations' event.

"It was very successful," he said. "We had 18,000 attend that one-day event."

"That was something I volunteered to do on my own time," he said. "I thought, 'Why not do something bigger, for all Asian ethnicities -- in the tradition of the San Gennaro Feast and Pure Aloha? There hadn't been one for the Asians."

A native of Las Vegas, Casimaro, 41, said he's been involved not only in the Filipino community but also acquainted with other Asian groups and teamed up with Mike Vaswani of the Asian-American Group, which he said is the largest Asian organization in Nevada, an umbrella for 35 groups.

The Orleans, he said, was chosen because "it was the only facility that could actually accommodate 40,000 to 50,000 people during the two-day event."

The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. both days. Admission is $7 per adult, $3 for children ages 5 to 10. There also is a $150 VIP option, which allows for special parking and entrance to the event, access to a lounge with hosted bar, sake tastings and appetizers and entrance to the official after-party nightclub.

"What's different about this event is we're offering the VIP experience," Casimaro said.

Well, that, plus food ranging from Pad Thai to egg rolls to curries and much, much more.

For details, visit the event website, www.LVAsianFoodFestival.com.

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474.