Approximately 1,000 volunteers helped put on the 12th annual Asian Cultural Experience at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens July 9-10, attracting a sizeable number of visitors, despite rain and power outages that afflicted Midtown, said Varinee Sangmalee, chairwoman of the event. “Even with the bad weather, we managed to pull it off,” she told GlobalAtlanta in an interview last week. “We were on generators and under shelter for a while Saturday night, but all and all it was a very successful event.”

The event attracted Laotian Prince and Princess Anouvong and Oulayvanh Sethathirath and Benny Permadi Suryawinata, Indonesian consul general for the Southeast, based in Houston.

A collection of more than fifty local cultural associations, businesses and restaurants showcased arts, crafts, cultural exhibitions, food, music and dancing. Atlanta’s Cambodian, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Malaysian, Philippine, Thai, Taiwanese and Vietnamese communities were represented during the two-day event. The Asian Cultural Experience was founded in 1993 by architect H. Anthony Smith, who wanted to encourage cultural awareness and ties between Atlantans and the local Asian community that now represents more than 130,000 residents, according to census reports. This year’s event was dedicated to Mr. Smith who died in April.

For more information about the Asian Cultural Experience, visit