Organizers and Collaborators

The Ithaca Asian American Association started in the Winter of 1997 by a group of concerned individuals who were interested in promoting, educating, and celebrating Asian heritage and culture. Drawing upon Asian American students from Cornell University, IAAA developed an educational and cultural program for Asian American youth to help them consider a college education and professional careers. Members of the then Ithaca Area Asian Association continued to meet from 1997 to 2003, and held programs and events such as the IthacAsian Golf Tournament (Summer 2003) to fundraise for IAAA programming.

In the Winter of 2003, new membership, especially of faculty and students from Ithaca College, augmented the existing membership from Cornell University and the longstanding local Ithaca community.

Together, throughout the Winter of 2003, the combined group reconstituted IAAA, recruited new board members, and renamed the organization The Ithaca Asian American Association. By-laws and a charter were written, and non-profit papers were filed for formal recognition as a non-profit community organization.

In 2004, IAAA purchased two dragon boats from Dalian, China and established the Ithaca Dragon Boat Club as a program to promote the not only the sport of dragon boating but its culture and heritage of Asians and Asian Americans. For more information about the Ithaca Dragon Boat Club, check out the website:

Since 2006, IAAA has been hosting the annual Finger Lakes International Dragon Boat Festival. Its mission is to seek to establish a sense of community among various local Asian American groups, and raise cultural awareness in the greater Ithaca community through education, leadership development, healthy living, fitness, and athletic competition.

The event started with less than 15 teams and hosted in a the gravel parking lot across from the Ithaca Boating Center. Since then the number of participants and visitors have been increasing on the annual basis. With the growth, we are looking forward to hosting its 5th Annual at Cass Park. It will juxtapose culture, water sport, food from different Asian ethnic groups and multi-cultural performances.


Funding support is from the Tompkins County Tourism Program