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The inaugural Asia North Festival, set for March 29-31 at Motor House on North Avenue, continues an effort to put the spotlight back on Baltimore's Asian heritage.
The inaugural Asia North Festival, set for March 29-31 at Motor House on North Avenue, continues an effort to put the spotlight back on Baltimore's Asian heritage. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore’s inaugural Asia North Festival, a celebration of Asian arts, food and culture taking place near what was once a thriving ethnic community, is coming to Charles North March 29-31.

The latest in an ongoing effort to focus attention on Baltimore’s Asian heritage, the festival will include performances from area artists including beat boxer Shodekah, a “Taste of Koreatown” food tour, an Asian-themed night market in Graffiti Alley off North Avenue and numerous other activities.

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A once-bustling section of downtown will come alive again Saturday with the Charm City Night Market, a block party celebrating Asian-American and Pacific Islander culture in Baltimore.

Festival sponsors include Charm City Night Market, which attracted thousands to a September block party designed to rekindle interest in Baltimore’s historic Chinatown along Park Avenue. “The goal is to bring people around a space and a neighborhood that I feel has been somewhat neglected, and make it feel alive,” organizer Marisa Dobson said at the time.

What’s happening?

The festival kicks off March 29 with a free opening party set for 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at Motor House, 120 W. North Ave., with musical performances, an art exhibit and Asian food.

A full day of activities — also at Motor House — is set for noon- 6 p.m. March 30, with more performances, food, interactive activities, storytelling and more.

On March 31, a “Taste of Koreatown” food tour of the area’s historic Korean restaurants, led by Bite of Baltimore, is scheduled for 3 p.m.-5 p.m.

Who’s performing?

On March 29, scheduled performers include Baltimore’s Ami Dang, a 2019 Baker Award finalist who performs Indian music, and EN’B, a group from Los Angeles’ Koreatown that sings music inspired by the black and Korean diaspora.

March 30 will feature Shodekeh, Washington Samulnori, The Washington Guzheng Society, Phounam Pin and others. An additional storytelling showcase presented by the newly formed Baltimore Asian Pasifika Arts Collective is set for 7 p.m., as is a Night Market Underground, with food, drink and performance, to take place in Graffiti Alley behind Motor House.

What are the food options?

The Night Market Underground on March 30 will feature food from Daikaya, Lei Musubi, Otabe by Masako, and Old Boy.

Just as many families could hardly imagine Thanksgiving without turkey, for those who celebrate it, the Lunar New Year is often synonymous with special foods — many of them whose origins date back millennia.

The Bite of Baltimore food tour on March 31 promises samples from the neighborhood’s Korean restaurants, which could include dishes like Korean barbecue and bibimbap.

What does this cost?

Admission to the events at Motor House is free. The charge for Sunday’s food tour is $10.

Where can I find more details?

For more on the Asia North Festival, visit motorhousebaltimore.com.

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