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Boba Festival was jam-packed with boba, art, and performances

Saturday was the first Boba Festival in Urbana, and it was jam-packed with attendees, boba drinks, art, and performances celebrating boba and Asian cultures. Sponsored by Bridges International UIUC and Legacy 202, Boba Festival had boba from Teamoji and Kung Fu Tea. The event was free to attend, but tickets were needed to enjoy the boba, concessions, or carnival games. 

Inside the Lincoln Square Mall, there was a very full Boba Festival. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The line to buy tickets was long, and the line for boba and food was even longer. I do not think organizers expected to have this large of a turnout for the event, but clearly Urbana was yearning for a Boba Festival. With clubs sharing their cultures, performers showcasing talents, and attendees experiencing so much in one space, the first ever Boba Festival in Urbana was popular.

A line for Boba Festival food. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Because it was such a busy event, I waited about 15 minutes to purchase tickets and 30 minutes to cash in my Boba Fest tickets. With 10 tickets, I bought a big strawberry lemonade boba drink (5), a mini of mango green tea boba (1), and a mochi doughnut (4). 

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The little sample of mango green tea boba was good, and the large strawberry boba was a fruity drink with boba pearls at the bottom. I’ve read about awesome boba drinks in C-U, and my expectations were a little higher than the festival’s offerings. The mochi doughnut was delicious. It was a little chewier than doughnuts I’ve had before, and the sesame added a great nuttiness to the sweet.

Carnival games at Boba Festival. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

In addition to ticketed carnival games, there were free games hosted by four different tables. Each table represented a country: India, Philippines, China, and Vietnam.

At the India table, there is a purple paper flower. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Guests could win a free button if they filled out a Boba Festival passport by completing the challenge at each table. I played a difficult rock game at the India table and watched some hacky sack games near the Vietnam table.

Art by OhOkThings is for sale at the Boba Festival. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Inside Lincoln Square Mall, artists had tables set up at the festival offering boba-themed art and other original pieces. Starting at 5, the festival hosted performances by Illini World TaeKwonDo, Illini Wushu, The Other Guys, and more. La Mixteca’s taco truck was parked outside serving a special bulgogi taco for the Boba Festival.

It was awesome to see the first ever Boba Festival so popular. With this much interest, I imagine it will become an annual event. Follow the Boba Festival on Instagram.

Boba Festival

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

Food + Drink Editor

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