July 12, 2010
The Lotus Festival Minus the Fireworks. And the Lotus
Los Angeles—If you want an example on how the City and the Mayor of Los Angeles treats the Asian Americans just look at the Lotus Festival last July 10-11, 2010 in Echo Park.
The Lotus Festival is taunted to be the Los Angeles’ annual tribute to cross-cultural Asian heritage. This year it reemerged in Echo Park this weekend after a one-year hiatus but still without one significant participant — the lotuses.
What Kind of Tribute?
The 32-year-old festival has grown over the years from a modest one-day event to a weekend-long extravaganza that has attracted as many as 150,000 people. This year, organizers said they expected roughly 30,000 visitors.
Formerly the City of Los Angeles is responsible for the Festival started by API non-profits. But last year it was canceled. They say due to lack of funds and the city's budget problems.
But the question asked is that why did the city did not cancel the CInco De Mayo or the Broadway Festival? IS there money for Latinos but not for Asians.?
This year. the festival was put t on by the nonprofit L.A. Lotus Festival Inc. and the city's Department of Recreation and Parks. But because of the scaled-back budget, organizers canceled the dragon boat races and the fireworks show and didn’t set up the children’s courtyard.
The Lotus Festival without the Fireworks
At this Lotus Festival ,the food vendors were back, hawking everything from pad Thai, to halo-halo, (a Filipino ice cream treat) and other fare. Singers, dancers and martial artists filled the stage. And festival-goers wandered through booths looking at art work and exotic birds.
The saving grace for this year was that the People's Republic of China or PRC was the showcase of this year's Lotus Festival. The Chinese are the largest Asian nationality in the United States and in Los Angeles. This year's festival featured the arts and culture of the PRC. Much to the consternation the small anti-communist island of Taiwan or the Nationalist China.
Still. a lot of people had a lot of questions about the missing events like the youth stage, the dragon boat races and most of all the fireworks that the people enjoy. What added to the woes was that even the traditional Fourth of July at Dodgers were absent.
Yes, if there is something missing in the Lotus Festival it is the fireworks. " We missed the fireworks ( traditionally on Saturday nights) and the dragon boat races, but they’re happy the festival is back,"
But Where are the Lotuses?
But while hundreds of people were out enjoying the sunshine, food and performances Sunday afternoon, there was one pressing question: Where were the lotuses?
The pink and white blossoms once blanketed the lake. The plants were not only bright spots of color but a piece of Echo Park history, believed to be descendants of lotuses brought from China in the 1920s.
But there was not a lotus bud to be seen this weekend, or for the last three years. City staff and festival organizers have given a number of possible explanations, including bacteria and chemicals in the water and non-native turtles or as the old wags says “The Asians are eating the plants.”
In 2006, California identified Echo Park Lake as an impaired water body. But in 2011, Los Angeles plans to kick off an ambitious rehabilitation that will include bringing back the lotuses. The -million project will be funded by bonds approved in 2004 for clean-water projects.
But the City have a ready solution to this problem. But his will cost money again.
This time, they will import the Lotus bed. The flowers will come not only from China but also from Thailand, Bangladesh and other Asian countries, said Annamaria Galbraith, supervisor with the parks agency. The project’s target completion date is spring 2013, in time for the Lotus Festival.