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35th Annual Lotus Festival and O’Farrell cats

By Tony Arranaga

ECHO PARK  — Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell is working with Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) and Amanda Foundation to host a pet adoption event this weekend at the 35th Annual Lotus Festival at Echo Park Lake.

In addition to the pet adoption event, LAAS and Amanda Foundation will provide services to pet owners, like spay and neuter certificates and discounted vaccination opportunities.  The organizations will also educate community members on proper care and treatment of animals, and inform the public on an illegal activity that is often seen at Echo Park Lake: dumping of unwanted pets like turtles and fish.

 lotus flower  in full bloom. Photo by Gary McCarthy
lotus flower in full bloom.
Photo by Gary McCarthy

“LA Animal Services and Amanda Foundation are key partners in ensuring the safety and well being of animals in Los Angeles,” said Councilmember O’Farrell.  “I’ve encouraged them to become a staple at the Lotus Festival, so we can engage the public in conversations about the importance of the lake’s natural ecosystem, as well as promote proper pet care, while visitors enjoy this amazing festival at one of the most iconic parks in all of Los Angeles.”

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell paddles at 2014 dragon boat race.
Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell paddles at 2014 dragon boat race. Photo by Gary McCarthy

“We are thrilled to be joining the Lotus Festival for a second year in a row” said LA Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette.  “We see this as an opportunity to visit with the thousands of attendees to the festival and provide this vital information.  The Lotus Festival celebrates culture, art, the environment, and all that makes Los Angeles great.  We are thrilled to include our pets and other animals in that conversation.”

The festival will kick off with a music concert in the park on Friday, July 10, 7-9 p.m.., and continue on Saturday, July 11, noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday, July 12, noon to 8 p.m.

On Saturday, visitors will see a return of the popular dragon boat races on the historic lake, as well as the opportunity to enjoy food, entertainment and the lotus flower beds that are in full bloom.

The event made its debut in 1972 as the ‘Day of the Lotus’ and takes place in the month of July to coincide with the blooming of the lotus flowers that are cultivated in the lake beds by city crews. The celebration was designed to promote awareness of the contributions by Asian-Americans in our local communities, and for the first time the event will honor the culture and traditions of the country of Mongolia.

Over the past two years, the tradition was placed on hold while the City embarked on a major Prop O stormwater improvement project.  The voter-mandated restoration helped protect water quality, enhance the Los Angeles River watershed, and maintain flood control functionality.

According to the Echo Park Historical Society, the Echo Park Lake lotus beds are considered to be the largest in the Western United States,

The Lotus Festival is held this Saturday and Sunday at Echo Park Lake starting at noon each day.  More information about the Lotus Festival can be found at:  http://laparks.org/calendar/lotus/lotus.htm

More information about LA Animal Services can be found here:  http://www.laanimalservices.com/

More information about Amanda Foundation can be found here:  http://amandafoundation.org/

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