Monday, July 13, 2009

Here's Where We Weren't This Weekend: The Fake Lotus Festival

Lotus in Echo Park, five years ago

No lotus in Echo Park, last year

The first big event I ever took Evan to, the Echo Park Lotus Festival, didn't take place this year -- a victim of budget cuts, and even sadder, the death of the once-vibrant lotus blooms in Echo Park.

A smaller, replacement fair took place this weekend at Echo Park. But as the L.A. Times reports, it was quite pathetic:

The city's landmark lotus bed is dead and the Asian community group that since 1972 held a summer celebration around the blooms couldn't raise enough money to put on the event.

When the neighborhood's chamber of commerce stepped in to put on a festival in its place, Lotus Inc., the nonprofit behind the original festival, refused to allow the chamber to use the Echo Park Lotus Festival name, as it has been known for years.

Saturday, at the event simply called the Echo Park Community Festival, indie rock music blared on loudspeakers and ducks and turtles idly swam in the murky lake devoid of its once-teeming lotus blossoms and the dragon-boat racing that became a staple of the festival.

"It's a little less of a celebration," said Vanessa Garcia, 27, noting that this year's festival was missing its theme celebrating Asian culture. "It was like a treat that came around once a year."

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