Over 300 booths and 50 food vendors were set up on West Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park for the annual Garvey Lunar New Year Festival on Saturday, January 30, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday, January 31, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The festival, hosted by World Journal LA, spanned across seven blocks, featuring cultural foods, live performances, music, firecrackers, and a carnival. Admission to the event and parking were free. The year of the monkey was the theme of the festival in accordance to the Chinese Lunar calendar. Last year, the festival garnered over 250,000 participants and has become a tradition over the past five years.
Senior Samir Al-Alami stated, “I think it’s a socially contingent thing to unify the community in celebrating a holiday that most people can find solace in.”
The carnival zone, located at the corner of Garvey and Lincoln Avenue, consisted of games and amusement park rides. Live performances included traditional folk dances, kung-fu, lion and dragon dances, and Chinese orchestra. The LA Voice Singing Contest Finals also took place in the festival. Cultural foods included Chinese cuisines such as Taiwanese sausages, egg waffles, and dragon’s whisker candy, which is a traditional Chinese dessert that resembles a white cocoon with a threaded texture. The festival also showcased Chinese calligraphy, sculptures, and more – sold at the Folk Arts Lane.
Junior Jackie Duong said, “I think this festival basically describes what Chinese New Year is about. It shows how we celebrate as Asians. I think it’s really fun to show others our Chinese New Year customs such as the lion dance and different cultural foods.”
Chinese culture club advisor Dr. Ye stated, “The atmosphere here [in California] is very different from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. That’s why this New Year’s gathering would give the Chinese community a chance to be in that atmosphere, pass on our traditions, and keep our heritage.” Streets such as East Garvey Avenue, Baltimore, Lincoln, Russell, Nicholson, Everett, and Edgley were closed temporarily for the duration of the festival.