For the past year Echo Park residents have wondered what was going to happen to their annual Lotus Festival, given the fact there were no longer any lotuses to be found in Echo Park Lake. Those majestic flowers, which blossomed from 80-year-old beds, had been dwindling over the past few years, and by 2008 they'd gone the way of Aimee Semple McPherson. And with the lotuses, the Lotus Festival has gone to that Page Not Found in the sky.
Instead, this year, the local Chamber of Commerce has joined with the city and others to present the free-admission Echo Park Community Festival, which starts this evening and rolls through the weekend with live entertainment from groovers (such as L.A. Ladies Choir) to folk troupes (Danza Azteca), along with the old festival's traditional offerings of quirky vendors, local characters and, of course, meat on a stick. And, in a nod to the past — or, hopefully, to the future, the festival will have a “Lotus Children's Area,” where kids will have their own entertainment stage.