First Asian festival in McKinney will celebrate the city's booming culture
A new, one-day festival meant to celebrate Asian cultures and traditions is coming to Downtown McKinney this spring.
The festival, aptly named the McKinney Asian Festival, is scheduled for March 23 at the Dr. Glenn Mitchell Memorial Park at 300 W. Louisiana St. It’s a free event being organized by the Texas Women Society, a nonprofit Asian women’s organization founded in 2022.
President Jennie Shen says the group has focused on uplifting and celebrating Asian culture across DFW, and they saw a need for education and diversity in McKinney.
“This festival is going to provide a bridge between the Asian community and the city of McKinney,” Shen says. “It’s definitely not only for Asians. We want to welcome everyone.”
About 24,000 Asian people live in McKinney, accounting for about 12% of the city’s population, according to 2023 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Collin County as a whole is nearly 19% percent Asian.
The county is known for a handful of annual Asian festivals, but none in McKinney—the city of Richardson hosts an annual Lunar New Year Festival, Plano has its Asian American Heritage Festival, and Frisco has an international fest, which partly honors Asian culture.
Shen says it was about time McKinney had a similar festival, so non-Asian people living in the city could learn about the rich traditions of Asian communities. At the same time, the festival will provide an outlet for Asian people to celebrate their culture and honor their traditions as a community.
The festival isn’t meant to spotlight any particular Asian country. Instead, it’ll be a diverse celebration of as many as possible, from major Asian countries like China and Japan to smaller ones like Cambodia and Laos, Shen says.
While some Asian festivals function more as a marketplace to shop from Asian vendors, Shen says she wants this festival to focus on art, music, and cultural performances in addition to vendors. She anticipates having about 70 vendors, including authentic Asian food trucks, arts and crafts merchants and hands-on activities.
And here's a nice plus: It'll be a "green" festival discouraging waste and minimizing disposable packaging.
But the main highlight will be the on-stage cultural performances and a lantern walk through the streets of downtown.
“I want people to know this is a traditional, well-organized Asian festival—it’s not a monthly marketplace,” Shen says.
So far, the Texas Women Society is still working on getting festival sponsors, but they’ve managed to attract the support of the city’s tourist center, Visit McKinney.
Executive director Aaron Werner says the Asian community makes McKinney “more vibrant.”
“Events like this enable us to embrace diversity, foster unity, and invite everyone to join us in experiencing the beauty of our city’s multicultural fabric,” he says.