Take a journey to the East during The Morton Arboretum’s third annual Destination Asia Festival, Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7. The two-day festival will give visitors a glimpse into Asian culture with traditional performances, arts and athletic demonstrations – including sumo wrestling with the largest Japanese sumo wrestler in the world – authentic cuisine, and a chance to learn about the Arboretum’s diverse collection of trees from China, Japan, and Korea.
Three performance areas will showcase a range of Asian music and dance, including Koto music from Japan, Bollywood dance demonstrations, Indonesian gamelan music, and Korean drumming. Additionally, guests can see a traditional Chinese Lion dance performance, watch Kung Fu demonstrations and try their hand at aerial yoga. Throughout the grounds, visitors can play games and enjoy activities native to Asian countries, including cricket, badminton, yoga and origami. A selection of food trucks will also offer Asian menu options to festival-goers throughout the weekend.
Nature is always a focus at the Arboretum, and the festival is a chance to learn about trees and plants from Asia. Visitors can stop by the Discovery Cart to learn more about the Arboretum’s Asian tree collection, take a self-guided hike to our collections from China, Japan and Korea, or take part in a Shinrin-Yoku session. Japanese for “forest bathing,” Shinrin-Yoku focuses on the physical and psychological benefits of a mindful walk in nature.
Included in the festival is the annual Prairie State Bonsai Society Show, featuring demonstrations and opportunities to learn more about the ancient Japanese art of bonsai, sculpting and pruning trees for ornamental purposes, as well as flower arrangement known as ikebana. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite.
The Destination Asia Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, and is free with Arboretum admission.