Annual Lotus Festival ready to bloom.

Lotus Festival in Bloom

Photos by JuanCarlos Chan, Rec and Parks

The Lotus Festival, one of the signature cultural celebrations in the City, is ready to bloom again July 13-14 at Echo Park.

The festival returned five years ago after a three-year absence; during the interim, Echo Park Lake, the festival’s location, was refurbished.

Dates coincide with the blooming of the lotus flower. Admission is free.

The festival attracts an estimated 100,000 people.

This year’s 39th annual Lotus Festival celebrates Asian Pacific cultures with two days of attractions and entertainment in scenic Echo Lake Park. The weekend kicks off with an opening ceremony, continuing with live music, a film screening, cultural performances and more. Teams compete in the colorful Dragon Boat Race on the lake, and there will be martial arts demonstrations and dance showcases, both traditional and contemporary.

Each year, the festival focuses on a different ethnicity within the Asian Pacific region. This year, the festival will honor the culture and traditions of the Thai community.

The event made its debut in 1972 as the “Day of the Lotus” and takes place in July to coincide with the blooming of the lotus flowers that are cultivated in the lake beds by City crews. The celebration was designed to promote awareness of the contributions by Asian Americans in our local communities.

In 2012-13, the Lotus Festival was placed on hold while the City embarked on a major Prop O stormwater improvement project, as detailed in the August 2013 edition of Alive! The voter-mandated restoration helped protect water quality, enhance the Los Angeles River watershed, and maintain flood control functionality.

According to the Echo Park Historical Society, the Echo Park Lake lotus beds are considered to be the largest in the Western United States.

The Lotus Festival is a program of the Los Angeles Lotus Festival, Inc., in collaboration with Rec and Parks.