Lotus Festival | July 14-15
the "dragon boats"
The Lotus Festival at Echo Park [Echo Park is a hilly neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, northwest of Downtown Los Angeles and southeast of Hollywood] originated in 1972, by the Department of Recreation and Parks and members of the Council of Oriental Organizations (COO). The two co-chairpersons for the first five years were volunteers from the Asian Community: Ella Quan and Helen Young. Hazel Young was co-chairperson until the mid 80’s and currently remains as an active member on the Lotus Festival advisory board and planning committee. [www.lotusfestival.org]
The dragon boat races became part of the entertainment when the festival had a Chinese opening day ceremony. City budget cuts curtailed the festival from 1978-1979. In 1980 through 1985, the festival took place once again, due to the generosity of various sponsors.[www.lotusfestival.org]
The dragon boat race is an event full of color noise and excitement! The dragon boats will be racing down Echo Park Lake with drums beating and crowds cheering them on. Races are preceded by the Buddhist blessing of the dragon boats, by the International Buddhist Meditation Center, ensuring safe and successful races.[www.lotusfestival.org]
post "race" dinner in little tokyo
I would not call these dragon boats. They were two row boats lashed butt to butt. I thought the fiberglass monsters at Long Beach were hard to paddle. These were ridiculous.
To call this a race is being generous to a fault. You could only "race" two "boats" at a time across a small pond and the festival paddles were canoe paddles. We were very disappointed by this venue as a race. While the festival itself had some interesting elements, as a dragon boat race, it was very unsatisfying.
-Kenny reminiscing 2010