Los Angeles

Lunar New Year Farewell: Lantern Fest

Calligraphy, dancing, and other convivialities are the theme of the El Pueblo party.

February is full of festive Lunar New Year happenings, but the party that bids adieu to another run of celebrations typically arrives just as March makes its stand.

It's the Los Angeles Lantern Festival, an afternoon-into-evening affair that spreads out around El Pueblo Historical Monument. Saturday, March 5 is the date for the free fun, fun that'll arrive just before El Niño and its dam dousing revisits us.

Which makes for a perfect, and perfectly sunshiny, day to spend crafting Monkey King and Dragon puppets, watching K-Pop and martial arts demos, cheering on a dramatic Lion Dance, and enjoying a shadow puppet show.

The noon to 7 o'clock celebration is equally full of both shows to watch and things to make, so if you hope to stay for several hours, plan on spending a bit of time at both the tables where the kites, lanterns, and red envelopes are set up and time at the performance area, for music, ballroom dance, ballet folklorico, and more.

The famous Silver Dragon closes out the day of art, community, and tunes, with a 7 o'clock cameo. If you've never encountered the Silver Dragon, make this your year to do so. The mythical beastie sends out the Lunar New Year festivities in a lively and auspicious and oh-so-photographable way.

Does he glow in the dark? Well, that would be a spoiler alert, if we revealed that. Though perhaps our very question reveals the answer.

Community booths, from the Asian Youth Center to the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, will be on the grounds, grounds that are both close to Olvera Street and a host of food trucks set to show for the lantern-lovely lark.

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