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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Lunar New Year festival well-attended


   On Feb. 4, the City of San Gabriel hosted the seventh annual Lunar New Year Festival, which took place in-person after two years of virtual celebrations. It was held in partnership with broadcast stations KAZN AM-1300, KMRB AM-1430, and Sino Television.

   At the event, attendees from San Gabriel and neighboring communities were encouraged to take part in the creation of the community art piece titled “A Rainbow of Peace Cranes.” Festivities included cultural performances, guided tours of the Mission District, food and artisanal booths, and a kids’ zone. 


   Dozens of vendors were lined up to sell a variety of east Asian snacks and food, ranging from grilled meat and seafood to confectionaries like dragon beard’s candy and other sweets. The food trucks at the festival sold Mexican food and boba. 

   Located next to the Mission Playhouse fountain, attendees could contribute to the “A Rainbow of Peace Cranes” art piece by writing down thoughts or supportive messages in light of the Monterey Park tragedy on origami paper provided to them. After being folded into paper cranes, the messages were placed into a large shadow box to be delivered to the City of Monterey Park. 

   “It’s a really meaningful message to show our communities are here to support each other,” stated San Gabriel Mayor Tony Ding. “We want to overcome the violence and hate that affects our communities, so we must keep moving forward to not let our celebrations be overrun by it.” 

   The San Gabriel Community Services Department helped run the booth, providing assistance to those creating paper cranes. 

   “People were really interested in participating because it means a lot to the community,” stated Sarah Reyes, who works with San Gabriel City. “I’m learning with them as we make the cranes for the art piece, and it’s cool seeing how everyone’s are a little bit different.”

   Before opening ceremony speeches, the Northern Shaolin Kung Fu group performed a traditional lion dance. 

   Dignitaries such as Congresswoman Judy Chu, Senator Susan Rubio, and Mayor Ding spoke at the opening ceremony, encouraging unity and strength for the future. 

   “We needed an in-person festival to come together,” said Ding. “Especially for me and other first generation Asian Americans, we can use these opportunities to further educate everyone in our community about our culture.” 

   Following the speeches, fourth graders from Field Elementary School performed a lion dance fused with modern music. 

   “It’s an amazing thing to do,” said Rorik Griswold, who performed with Field Elementary. “I felt confident up there because it’s so much fun.” 

   The National Taiwan University Alumni Association performed their dragon dance afterwards. Other dances, contemporary performances, and songs were performed throughout the festival. 

   From noon to 3 p.m., attendees could take part in hourly guided walking tours to learn more about San Gabriel and the Mission District. 

   Mayor Ding led two tours, at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. respectively, to offer personal insight about historic landmarks. Jason Huang, the Los Angeles branch manager of the International Youth Fellowship (IYF), and Solomon Chung, an IYF volunteer, also helped guide the tours.

   “San Gabriel is rich with history,” stated Chung. “It’s important that we can help people learn more about this area.”

   The tour walked people through the historical importance of the landmarks in the area such as the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, the Mission Playhouse, and Museum of California History. 

   The kids’ zone provided entertainment to children with inflatable bouncy houses, a petting zoo, and pony rides. A crafts booth was also open to children, supplying them with bookmarks to color in with Lunar New Year imagery and chalk to play with.

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About the Contributor
Brian Ly
Brian Ly, Production Chief
Brian Ly is the Production Chief for the Tongva Times and is entering his fourth year with the paper. In his personal life, Brian has a keen interest in insects, collectible card games, books, and movies. He even aspires to raise his own "Gregor Samsas" when he finds the right environment. Interestingly, Brian initially joined the newspaper in his freshman year, mistaking it for a history class due to the presence of a textbook. Despite the unexpected start, he remained with the Tongva Times, drawn by the strong sense of community and the chance to interact with diverse individuals, from school athletes to the mayor of San Gabriel.
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