Woonsocket will host its first Southeast Asian Water Festival

Woonsocket will host its first Southeast Asian Water Festival

Gathering at Harris Hall for the announcement that SEAAURI’s 6th annual Water Festival will be held in Woonsocket in 2017 are, from left, Samnag Kea-Or; Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt; founder of the Southeast Asians American United of Rhode Island Water Festival Vali Khamsomphou; Woonsocket resident Sytha Chuk; and festival committee advisor Richard Tomasso.

WOONSOCKET – Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and members of the Southeast Asians American United of Rhode Island announced, at an afternoon gathering in Harris Hall, that SEAAURI’s 6th annual Water Festival will be held in Woonsocket in 2017 at Cold Spring Park. The festival is scheduled to be held on Saturday, July 15 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. This marks the first time that this festival or a festival of its kind will be held in the city.

“I am thrilled to welcome SEAAU and this year’s Water Festival to the city of Woonsocket,” said Baldelli-Hunt. “Woonsocket has a vibrant Southeast Asian community and this will be a great opportunity to share a part of this city’s culture with a greater audience. Woonsocket is known as an inclusive community and this year’s Water Festival will be the result of widespread collaboration.”

Water Festivals are a traditional fixture in Southeast Asian culture and are held worldwide in celebration of the region’s culture. The festival will feature traditional Southeast Asian cuisine, music, and performances. The centerpiece of the festival will be dragon boat races along the Blackstone River featuring teams of rowers competing for prizes and pride.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to share our culture with our community and are grateful to have the support from the Mayor Baldelli-Hunt and the City of Woonsocket,” said Vali Khamsamphou, festival founder and SEAAU member. “Coming together as a community is always a good thing. We are pleased to bring the excitement of the festival to our city through this partnership.”

SEAAU is a cultural organization whose mission is to advance and preserve Southeast Asian culture in Rhode Island through advocacy and education. Cold Spring Park is located off of Harris Avenue along the Blackstone River. Individuals or groups interested in participating in the festival as a sponsor, vendor, or boat race team can contact festival organizers at vkhamsomphou@yahoo.com or 401-965-6510.