Every summer for three decades, the grassy banks of Echo Park Lake transformed into an enchanting promenade called the Lotus Festival, in honor of the blooming of the lotuses on the north side of the pond. Paddle boaters pedaled around fountains as crowds examined handmade crafts, snacked on delicious street food and listened to exotic tunes. But then the festival quietly disappeared. The paddle boats were grounded, Echo Park Lake was drained for a multimillion-dollar renovation and the lotuses wilted, seemingly refusing to blossom until the festival returned again, too. Fortunately, after the festival's three-year hiatus, the Philippines has stepped up to be host country of the 34th edition of the Lotus Festival and, just like the lotuses, the festival is back in full bloom. In its 2014 comeback, the festival features the signature dragon boat races as well as a range of cultural dances, martial arts demonstrations, a 1920s-themed drill-team routine and live music, including Latin jazz, rock and stress-relieving ancient sacred sounds. Since the lotus is a prominent symbol in Asian art and religion, the eastern continent's myriad cultures have always been the theme of the festival, but in practice, the summertime tradition appeals to all cultures. That's so L.A. Echo Park Lake, 751 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park; Sat., July 12, noon-9 p.m.; Sun., July 13, noon-8 p.m.; free. (213) 413-1622, facebook.com/lalotusfestival or cd13.com/2014_lotus_festival.
Sat., July 12, 12-9 p.m., 2014 (Expired: 07/12/14)
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