‘Lunar New Year’ Lantern Parade returns to Woodstock

INCLUDES EXCLUSIVE VIDEO | You’ve got to see how these families celebrate the Lunar New Year; there’s nothing like it in outer East Portland …

Getting ready to head out for this year’s Woodstock Lunar New Year Lantern Parade are these families.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

When the COVID-19 pandemic ended activities at the school early last year, a family with children who attend the Woodstock Elementary School’s Dual Immersion Mandarin Language program decided to host a neighborhood parade to mark the end of the 2020 Lunar New Year.

“We thought having a neighborhood lantern parade and recognizing the Chinese Lantern Festival would be a bright spot of light for our family and our neighbors, about this time last year,” Kelli George recalled.

Helping both kids and adults assemble and light lanterns s the organizer, Kelli George.

“The Lantern Parade last year started as a small fun event for our block, along with our kids’ friends from school and their families; and it grew, as word got around, into quite a large outdoor procession,” Ms. George told East Portland News before their parade this year – which took place on Saturday evening, February 12.

“Seeing 65+ lanterns light up our street, last year, was just breathtaking,” Kelli continued. “We took donations this year to help pay for some lanterns; but if we get enough donations, it would be great to grow this, year over year, to where we can invite a Lion Dance team to start us off as well.”

Get an idea of what this event was like
by viewing this Video Vignette:

The front porch of their Woodstock neighborhood house was clearly too small to be the starting point for the larger parade planned this year she pointed out.

“So this year, we all met in front of Woodstock Elementary School to hand out lanterns; inviting both English language students and Mandarin Immersion families to bring awareness to this gem we have in our own neighborhood school,” she told us later.

Tom Pardee and 2-year-old Yuan were among the participants in the 2022 Woodstock Lunar New Year Lantern Parade.

By 6:30 p.m. that evening, many families had already gathered, making and illuminating paper lanterns with the help of Kelli and her husband Jeremy, and their kids – Madeline, Violet, and ZiLong.

A little after 7 p.m. that evening, almost all of the lanterns had been distributed and the eager children were ready to head out on parade.

Before they left, the group gathered for a group photo. Many of the Mandarin students shouted “Happy New Year” in Chinese, and began singing a celebratory song.

Taken from atop the Woodstock Elementary School porch, here’s a panoramic photo of the group – ready to head out on the 2022 Woodstock Lunar New Year Lantern Parade.

The procession stepped out heading north, off the school’s campus and through Woodstock Park. With the help of several adult crossing-guards, the massive procession continued north across S.E. Steele Street and on into the neighborhood.

With the tremendous turnout this year, you can expect this new neighborhood tradition to be back, and bigger than ever, to celebrate the 2023 Lunar New Year.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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