The Los Angeles Lotus Festival Returns This Weekend

Photo from last year's Lotus Festival, when the lotus flowers were in bloom.
Photo from last year's Lotus Festival, when the lotus flowers were in bloom.
Tammy Manet / Flickr CC

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L.A.’s official Lotus Festival is back this year, though it’s a little smaller than in previous years.

Organizers expect thousands of visitors to enjoy the music, dancing, art and boutiques this weekend at Echo Park Lake. For the first time in almost four decades, the free festival is showcasing the people and culture of China.

But that theme will not include the popular Dragon Boat races. Leo Pandac with the nonprofit LA Lotus Festival, Inc. explained why they won’t happen this year.

"The organizers felt that at this time of economic hard times, better to save some money and just have it for next year."

The city of Los Angeles’ co-sponsorship of the festival has shrunk as dramatically as its budget, said Vicki Israel, an assistant manager with the LA Department of Recreation and Parks.

"We have taken a very small role this year, of course, advisory. But in the past we have provided a lot of staff and run the whole children’s area. We’re not doing that this year."

Another thing missing from LA’s Lotus Festival are the lotuses. They’ve mostly died off. But people in Echo Park hope they’ll bloom again, when –budget permitting - the city completes its restoration project. Last year, the official Lotus Festival had to be canceled due to the city's fiscal problems.

The free festival's hours are 12pm-9pm Saturday and 12pm-8pm Sunday.