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Lunar New Year Fiestas Increase

  • By David Barron

The Asian Lunar New year is just around the corner and the West San Gabriel Valley is getting ready to celebrate the Year of the Monkey. Thousands of local residents and business people look forward to the celebration which last two weeks or much longer.  It means many local residents will throw out the old and buy new clothes, new furniture and go out to eat at restaurants throughout the Valley.

Monterey Park is have its celebration for two days on Saturday and Sunday, January 30-31.The city has been celebrating the Lunar New year for more 20 years. The celebration initially began as a small parking lot "Flower Market" and grew into a parade at one time. After three different contractors went by the wayside, the city contracted with the World Journal Chinese language newspaper. The World Journal originally started with a minor celebration for its customers and friends at its corporate center office building. Just a few years ago, after one of the producing companies had been fired, Monterey Park hired World Journal. Today, the festival covers about half-a-mile of Garvey Avenue.

Until two years ago the city  provided $10,000 from the Downtown Business District treasury as seed money for the event. The World Journal is able to entice large corporate sponsors so the event does not end up in the red. They rent more than 150 food and display booths that bring in lots more revenue. Local cynics sometimes describe the event as the state's biggest flea market.

Alhambra also celebrates the Chinese New Year with a short parade and a one day festival, typically at Almansor Park. Originally, Alhambra and Monterey Park joined efforts to produce a Chinese New Year Parade. The Parade started in Monterey Park and ended in Alhambra at their festival. This left a bad taste in because the target audience ended up in Alhambra. The date for this year's event has not been announced.

San Gabriel will have a one day celebration on Saturday, Feb. 6. The city is underwriting the event with $30,000 allocated from its Community Fund. Organizing the event is KCM Agency which got a lot experience by producing the MPK Night Market in Monterey Park. KCM bailed out of the Night Market because it didn't make any money, according to reports filed with the city. Former Monterey Park Chamber was a sponsoring partner and also did not make any money.

KCM organized last year's San Gabriel festival, but had limited attendance but strong financial backing from the city.

ROSEMEAD previously held two consecutive Chinese New Year festivals but quit last year and opted for fall festival.


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