Despite raindrops, ‘New Year in the Park’ in East Portland brings sunny smiles

INCLUDES COLORFUL EVENT VIDEO | See how this multicultural celebration, presented rain or shine, brings together many Asian communities in outer East Portland at Glenhaven Park each year …

Under umbrellas, visitors to this year’s “New Year in the Park” celebration visit vendors – in the large event tent, in the background of this photo.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

One of most joyful events we cover every year is the annual “New Year in the Park” celebration – this year on Saturday, April 27, in the Madison South neighborhood at Glenhaven Park.

The festival showcases cultural dance and music performances, traditional games, cultural crafts and activities, and vendor booths with food and merchandise.

The focus of the celebration is a huge tent, set up in the center of the park, providing a covered area which sheltered hundreds of revelers from the pouring rain – and which provided a covered stage for performances.

One of the key organizers, Anna Somvong, says she’s happy to see this vibrant event continue.

“Our ‘New Year in the Park’ has been here for ten years – although during the pandemic, we had a couple years’ hiatus – but this is our second year back,” one of its main organizers, Anna Somvong, told East Portland News.

Here’s a brief video tour of this wonderful outer East Portland cultural event:

“This is so important, because there is a vibrant Southeast Asian community here in the outer Southeast Portland area,” Somvong explained. “This brings together our Southeast Asian communities who traditionally celebrate New Year around this time of year – such as Laotian, Cambodian, the Myanmar or Burmese community, Thailand people, and those from Nepal and Tamil.”

Preparing fresh food for hungry guests are these jolly chefs from Kua Thai. Their food truck is to be found in Fairview.

The scent of freshly-cooked foods wafting through the air was tantalizing – so the day’s drenching rain squalls and intervals of light “Oregon rain” didn’t discourage visitors from patronizing the many food vendors at the celebration.

This is one of the many groups who performed dances representing their cultures.

“The purpose of our New Year celebration is to highlight vibrant Southeast Asian communities in the greater Portland area,” Somvong pointed out.

“And, our festival gives Southeast Asian communities the chance to get together – while, at the same time, sharing their rich cultural heritages with the general public who we welcome with open arms! We are inclusive of everybody!”

While out of the day’s rain under the cover of large tents, hundreds of visitors enjoy entertainment – and delicious food as well – with families and friends.

Look for this celebration to return a year from now – on the last Saturday in April of 2025. Stay in touch by bookmarking their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2024 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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