Lotuses in Bloom – Photo Credit: Theeastsiderla.com
In addition to colorful murals and a renowned culinary scene, Echo Park, Los Angeles hosts an annual celebration of Filipino and pan-Asian culture and community.
Looking for more information on Echo Park? Check out our post about the Lady of the Lake!
The Echo Park Lotus Festival takes place every year in July, when the lotus plants on the north side of the park adorn themselves with delicate pink and white flowers. The pond at Echo Park holds the largest lotus bed in the United States, and the annual display is breathtaking. The festival has been an annual tradition for more than three decades, apart from a three-year hiatus when the park was closed down and the pond drained for a multimillion-dollar renovation.
Tori Gate Decorations in Echo Park – Photo Credit: The eastsiderla.com
During the festival, red Tori-gate style decorations are installed over Echo Park’s arching bridges, along with white pavilions to protect festivalgoers from the blazing July heat. Crowds typically spill out onto the surrounding streets, and the events at the festival are designed for strolling, sampling, and freeform enjoyment.
Since its revival in 2014, the festival has expanded to include dragon boat races, traditional dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, and more. The festival’s focus is on Asian traditional arts and cultural events, but the summer festival includes a diverse mix of live music and food vendors, and the summer schedule means that it’s always a popular draw for all of Los Angeles. Although it is slightly smaller post-hiatus, the Lotus Festival is still one of Los Angeles’ largest outdoor events.
Dragon Boat Races – Photo Credit: Lacitypix.wordpress.com
The all-day festival offers free admission and entertainment, but the many craft and food vendor stalls price their merchandise individually. Hungry visitors can find sit-down meals as well as handheld goodies like tacos, bibimbap, or mochi ice cream. The dragon-boat races on the first day are among the most popular events, as teams race across the pond in boats with painted dragon figureheads and tails.
Each year, the festival organizers choose a theme – for 2016’s festival, for example, the festival honored Korea, with traditional dance performances and special attention to traditional Korean music and crafts. The perennial lineup ranges from Hawaiian and Tahitian dance performances to Taiko drummers to mainstream fare like jazz, rock and roll, and R&B. Entertainment runs from noon until late summer nightfall each day of the event, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy a range of performances, demonstrations, and dining.
If you’re looking for a summer celebration full of music, art, and delicious treats, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for at the Echo Park Lotus Festival!
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