ROSEMEAD - Despite dark clouds and the threat of rain, crowds of local residents attended the opening of the first Lunar New Year Celebration on Saturday.
Lion dancer thrills young children. -- Photo by Dave Barron
The celebration was being staged at the old auto auction site on Garvey Avenue and San Gabriel Boulevard. By 11 a.m. in the morning several hundred people were visiting many commercial and information booths at the festival.
Officials from Rosemead, Monterey Park, Alhambra and Cerritos were in attendance to present their certificates and to wish the city "good weather" and "Gong Hay Fat Choy" or happy new year.
Rosemead Mayor Sandra Armenta, helped by several other council members, used a large scissors to cut a red ribbon to officially open the first Lunar New Year Celebrations in the West San Gabriel Valley. This is the fourth year that Rosemead has hosted a Lunar New Year Celebration.
Next weekend Monterey Park will hold the region's largest festival whiich effectively brings east-west traffic to a halt by closing Garvey Avenue for two days.
Other festivals will follow in Alhambra, El Monte, Arcadia and Cerritos, all cities with large Asian populations that consider the Lunar New Year a huge family event. Most Lunar new year events are organized and sponsored by major Chinese newspapers, including the World Journal, Sing Tao and EDI Media.
Booths at Rosemeads festival feature a range of Asian foods, souvenirs, plants, commercial sales and information about insurance, banking and home services.
Rosemead Chamber of Chamber of Commerce had an information booth promoting local business and memberships. The Garvey Education Association, a union group, had a booths to register voters and obtain signatures on a recall petition.
Activities for children included several free rubber bouncers. McDonalds had huge lines because they were giving away coffee and samples.