SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Mark your calendars as the 45th Utah Asian Festival kicks off this July in Salt Lake City.

Since its debut in 1977, the Utah Asian Festival remains the longest-running festival of its kind anywhere west of the Mississippi.

The free festival takes place on July 9 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Grand Building of the Utah State Fairpark.

Visitors can enjoy family-friendly activities such as traditional and modern cultural performances, children’s activities, delicious food booths/trucks, cultural booths and more.

Organizers say the festival aims to connect “new Americans, immigrants, and refugees to more historic ethnic groups in Utah while showcasing over 150 years of culture and tradition in Utah history.

Those attending the festival can enjoy free TRAX rides when presenting their festival tickets. Those driving to the event can enjoy $5 all-day parking at the fairgrounds. If you’d prefer to bike, free 30-minute rides with GREENBike are available using promo code “UAF2022.”

“Founders Jimi Mitsunaga, Lang Wong, Joe Arzacon, and Chung Mun Lee organized the first Utah Asian Festival… their common vision was to strengthen collaborations among Asian communities in Utah and cultivate ties with all Utah residents,” says Dr. Shu Cheng, Executive Director of AAU. “In 2022, we will be celebrating 45 years of success. Three generations of Asian Americans have volunteered to make the annual Utah Asian Festival fun and educational. The event transforms Asian Americans into leaders and consolidates them into a cohesive core in Utah.”

Organizers say in September 2020, archaeologists from the Utah State Historic Preservation Office discovered remnants of a house built by Chinese railroad workers in modern-day Box Elder County. Preservation officers declared the residence to be “the first Chinese [Transcontinental railroad workers’] home… in the entire nation.”

“The festival is always attended by thousands of people,” says UAF three-time chairwoman Eunice Lane. “It’s the only event where all Asians in Utah come together as one, where we express, celebrate, and rejoice in their respective heritage, colorful and vibrant culture and traditions.”

(Courtesy of Utah Asian Festival)