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This weekend was the 28th Annual Lotus Festival around the lake in Echo Park. The LA Department of Recreation and Parks along with the Lotus Festival Advisory Board presented a celebration of Asian culture replete with the requisite food, crafts and art vendors along with health and pet booths. The festivities this year focused on, but were not limited to, Korean customs and culture. We ate some food and took some photos and the results are contained in the post after the jump.
The first thing the day had going for it was the weather, not that LA is known for clear days, but we lucked out and it was clear and warm. We made our way around the lake and the first booths we encountered were the clothing and jewelry vendors, which Penelope and some ladies in blue seemed to enjoy.
After planning to window shop only, we surveyed the food vendors, not falling for the hard sell or buying the first bite that came along, we difficult kept walking to the plant and animal vendors. After a few minutes of bird calling and whistling with the parakeets we saw this fellow who was outwardly morose but it was obvious to he was doing a happy dance on the inside. Contrasting Mr. Gloomy was the marionette weeble hawking Auntie Smiles who thanked us for taking her picture as if it made her day.
The photogs were out en masse and we shot a nice metaphoto with the Downtown LA skyline and the echo park fountains in the background. Another nice photog pointed out the turtles that were swimming in the shade of the lotus plants and particularly one baby turtle hitching a ride atop its mothers back, but unfortunately our lens was too short to take a meaningful photo of the floating critters.
Soon it was time for the Dragon Boat Races, and as it turns out a dragon boat is really just two rowboats attached back to back with a few pieces of plywood and adorned with a colorful dragon head and tail. We watched the races for about five minutes when we realized we had seen all the booths and it was time for some festival food.
On our way to eat we grabbed an action shot of a woman shooting a basket for the chance to win the highly sought after KFC coupon for a free soda with purchase of one giant bucket of deep fried chicken bits or something of that nature. We began our second wave of food perusal where we found the internet famous "lobster" balls, which contained absolutely no lobster apart from that contained in the name, but were nevertheless quite tasty and the lady who served them to us was happy to hear her balls were famous and on the internet. We also tried a bento box which included a fairly standard assortment of deep fried Japanese items which included shrimp katsu, potato croquette katsu, squash tempura, bay shrimp and scallion tempura and some grilled fare as well comprised of chicken yakitori and a chicken ball.
Penelope had some Thai curry beef which she didn't care for as much as she would have liked, but festival food is always hit or miss so our expectations were not high and we were not disappointed, plus her drink, a piña colada flavored smoothie contained in a hollowed out pineapple, was delicious. The watermelon juice was mediocre and you could taste the syrup they used to flavor it, unlike the delicious sandía aguas frescas we had at the LA Zoo (which we made a trip to after the Lotus Festival, not for the drink, but to exercise our membership and visit our favorite baby lemur). There were plenty of people in the park enjoying themselves and possibly the meter maids may have enjoyed themselves so much the didn't notice they ran over a street cone. This piece of graf which looked like it was straight out of Subway Art summed up our feelings pretty well, but we had a lemur to visit and some jogging to do. On our way out, across the freeway we drove passed a group a police, fire engines and bystanders who were gathered around a rather distraught young woman with a bullet hole though her arm, but we're told there are worse places to be shot and it is our opinion that she she will recover to full health, but it just goes to show there is never a dull moment here in LA.