While the Lotus Festival isn’t going to coincide with the blooming of the Lotus flowers in Echo Park Lake this year, have to admit we are a little excited about its return this weekend. In 2009, the Lotus Festival was canceled due to budgetary cuts, and instead turned into the first Echo Park Community Festival. This year marks the 32nd celebration of the Festival, and is sponsored by L.A. Lotus Festival, Inc. and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.
For those of you who have never been to a Lotus Festival and are new to the area, it’s basically a medium-sized fair around the Lake with vendors selling clothing, jewelry, and other knick-knacks, along with a variety of festival-style food. There’s also a stage where entertainment takes place – we’ve seen some impressive taiko-style drumming, traditional dancing, and other great music.
All this is designed to promote an “atmosphere of understanding in which Asian and Pacific Islander communities in Southern California are brought together for two days of cultural sharing.”
Also in past years, there used to be a Dragon Boat race, where teams applied and paid to race each other in the lake. It seems due to some cutbacks, the races are canceled this year. From the Lotus Festival Dragon Boat Races website:
After much discussion and deliberation, HAP, Inc. has made this difficult decision to cancel the races. Since, we are a not-for profit organization, our primary goal is to provide scholarships to graduating high school students to further their higher education aspirations. Due to unforeseen complications and in the best interest for those most in need of our scholarships, this year races have been canceled.
We don’t have an official schedule of events yet, and we are still waiting to find out if there will be the traditional 9:00 pm fireworks show over the lake on Saturday night (Militant Angeleno, a fellow blogger, is on the case). In the meantime, here’s a general schedule from the Rec and Parks website:
Saturday, July 10:
Opening Ceremonies at 12:00 noon: Live music, dance and entertainment from a variety of performers representing many of the diverse countries of Asia and the Pacific Islands. This year, the Festival will highlight the people and cultures of China.
Both Saturday and Sunday:
In addition to vendors selling food and gifts, there will be:
• Asian and Pacific Islander personalities from the media/communities will be around.
• Artisans will be on hand demonstrating skills at the Flower Island Pavilion.
• The Health Fair will provide services, and other community services will provide free information.
Leo Pandac at L.A. Lotus Festival, Inc.
Phone: (213) 413-1622
“Another Lotus Festival Without the Lotus,” Franklin Avenue, July 8, 2010
“Lotus Festival Rumored to Return,” Echo Park Now, May 31, 2010
“Lotus Festival Dragon Boat racers left high and dry,” The Eastsider LA, July 2, 2010