Why thousands flocked to Pomona Fairplex’s ‘Asian version of a county fair’ – Los Angeles Times

Blending elements of a trade show, food festival, product showcase, fashion show and concert venue, the Asian American Expo offered a sweeping, kaleidoscopic view of Southland Asian commerce at the Pomona Fairplex on Sunday.

The expo began in 1982 as a perk for advertisers in the Chinese Consumer Yellow Pages, whose parent company, the Chinese Overseas Marketing Service Corp., funds the event, said organizer Gorden Kao.

Today it has expanded in so many directions that even organizers struggle to define it simply.

“We call it different things depending on who we’re marketing it to, but I like to call it the Asian version of a county fair,” Kao said.

Like a county fair, there was a centrally located carousel, but at $4 a ride, most of the horses lacked riders. The fried dough came in the form of a Japanese savory pancake, okonomiyaki, and the closest thing to a burger was a rou jia mo, a cumin-spiced lamb flatbread sandwich from northern China. Balloons were plentiful, but most of them were red and stamped with advertisements for Chinese companies.