Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Birds, Fishies, Lotuses, and Fireworks

This past weekend was the annual Lotus Festival sponsored by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks at Echo Lake Park. It’s a three-day festival to help develop, promote, and create an atmosphere of understanding of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the festival, and since I’d never gone before I decided it was time to go.

I headed over to the festival Saturday evening full of anticipation, especially for the fireworks display.

The area surrounding the lake was packed with people from all walks of life; families, friends, the old, the young, representing all nationalities. It was truly a melting pot of people, and everyone was getting along nicely and having a great time.

There were booths selling food and crafts, and booths promoting community organizations. Additionally there were bands performing live, both modern and ethnic music. It was a great atmosphere under the star filled night.

While wandering through the booths I was surprised to see booths selling birds. Birds? Yep, wonderfully colored birds, both small and large. This booth seemed to be attracting a large crowd of onlookers. I didn’t see anyone buying a bird, but heard a lot of kids begging their parents for one. I refrained from succumbing to bird temptation and quickly moved on.

There was another booth selling goldfish. And yes, a lot of people were walking around with plastic bags filled with water and fish. I just hope these little fishies eventually made their home inside a fish bowl with plastic ornaments and brightly colored pebbles. But something tells me a lot of them were going to die before they got out of the bag only to be flushed down someone’s toilet, or discarded on the side of the road. I don’t think I’d ever want to be reincarnated as a goldfish.

Unfortunately the lotuses were less than spectacular, partly due to the extremely dry weather we’ve been having in Southern California. Go figure, the one year I go the lotuses decide not to make a splendid appearance.

The fireworks were spectacular, and more than made up for the missing lotuses. I just love watching the night light up with all the bright colors: reds, greens, blues, and golds.

Hopefully next year the lotuses won’t be so bashful and will be in full bloom.

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