Thousands of people are expected to flock to Echo Park Lake this weekend for the 37th Lotus Festival. The neighborhood’s largest event celebrates the summer blooming of the lotus flower in the lakebed and raises awareness of the cultural contributions made by Asians and Pacific Islanders. This year, the festival will focus on the people and culture of Bangladesh.
Dozens of food and craft vendors will be spread across the north end of the park. There will also be live entertainment, artisan workshops, community service booths, a children’s play area, Japanese tea house tea ceremony, dragon boat races, and, of course, the lotus bed.
Here’s what visitors can expect this weekend:
- Hours: An outdoor concert kicks off the event on Friday night, July 14. The festival itself, however, officially begins at 12 pm on both days but many food booths and craft vendors might open sooner. The festival closes at 9 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
- Cost: Admission and entertainment is free; the food and vendor merchandise is not.
- Location: Most activities, including music and dance performances, food and merchandise booths, will be located on the north side of Echo Park Lake.
- The Theme: This year’s festival will honor and feature the culture and traditions of the Bangladesh.
- Entertainment & Activities: The schedule of events on Saturday and Sunday features a wide range of live music and dance performances featuring Asian culture. The lineup ranges from Hawaiian and Tahitian dance performances to Taiko drummers and Italian heritage songs. There will also be more mainstream fare, including jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and R&B.
- Dragon Boat Races: Several teams will race across the lake during the weekend, with an awards ceremony planned to honor the winners on Sunday.
- Kids & Family: Most of the events are family friendly, but the martial arts demonstration, rock climbing walls and bounce houses are always popular with the kids.
- Food: Food booths will serve up primarily Asian food, including Chinese, Korean, Thai and Filipino.
- Craft & Merchandise Booths: Vendors selling various types of merchandise and crafts will be open for business.
- Community Booths: More than 40 booths will be occupied by community groups and government agencies to dispense information and, in some cases, freebies.
- No, no & no: There will be no fireworks or carnival rides as had been the case in years past. The island in the north end of the lake, an unofficial bird sanctuary, will remain off limits to the public during the festival.
- Traffic & Parking: Expect Glendale Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue to become very congested, especially during the afternoon hours. Prepare to search the surrounding blocks for street parking.
- Take The Bus: Visitors are encouraged to take Metro buses, which run along Glendale and Sunset boulevards. Echo Park residents can take the DASH bus that runs on Echo Park Avenue directly to the park.
- Street Closures: Park Avenue, on the north end of the park, between Glendale Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue.
- Security: Vendors, staff and visitors should report unattended packages, backpacks and other suspicious items, festival officials have said.
- Don’t Forget The Lotus! There will be a lot of things going on vying for your attention but don’t forget about the lotus! The lotus bed in the northwest corner of the lake is the main attraction of the festival. Many of the plants have already bloomed, leaving behind shower-head like seed pods. But there are more than enough pink and cream-colored blossoms still rising above the leafy lotus bed to inspired countless Instagram shots. The blossoms close up in the late afternoon, so lotus lovers should arrive during the late morning or early afternoon for the best show.
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