‘Spring Festival’ celebrated in East Portland

ENJOY THE COLORFUL, LIVELY HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO INCLUDED |Discover the connection between outer East Portland and the ‘Portland Spring Festival 2023’ held in Central East Portland …

The space quickly fills; these are some of the thousands of guests who attended Portland Spring Festival 2023.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Enough of the snow and ice melted before Saturday, February 25, to make it possible for the Portland Spring Festival 2023 to occur as scheduled at the Redd East Event Space.

Organizers first wondered if a Spring Festival, held during the winter months – and particularly on the heels of a record blizzard – would attract guests. The answer turned out to be a resounding “yes”! The line waiting to enter the ticketed event wrapped around the block.

As it begins, he’s pleased that the festival was going so well, says White Lotus Foundation President Nhan Danh.

“There is a connection between this festival and outer East Portland – and, it’s me! I am a proud graduate of David Douglas High School; indeed, I am a Scot!” the event’s chief organizer and White Lotus Foundation President Nhan Danh told East Portland News as the evening was getting started.

“This is our second festival; we hosted a ‘night market’ in September that we called the Portland Mid-Autumn Moon Festival,” explained Danh. “Because of that success, we decided also to start hosting the Portland Spring Festival.

“So, while this is the first time that we’re hosting this kind of spring event, we hope to be able to do it for years to come.”

The aroma of what Jessica Martin, of Island Meets Main, is cooking draws hungry folks to her booth.

Festival guests enter The Redd to shop the craft vendors and to enjoy live entertainment.

Kailani of Aloha Lane by Kailani shows her Hawaiian-inspired jewelry.

“Here this evening, we have about thirty food vendors; but we also have a number of vendors who are creators – with merchandise such as books, stickers, artwork, and other such gifts,” Danh pointed out. “And tonight we also have three Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) pop and hip-hop artists performing as well.”

“Will there be a Lucky Lion Dance this evening?” we asked.

“Of course!” Danh responded exuberantly. “Our organization started with the White Lotus Lion Dance Team a 2015 – it was my original project.

One of the White Lotus Lion Dance “lucky lions” towers above the crowd as the performance begins.

When their performance ends, and the Lions hold up “Happy Lunar New Year” banners, the crowd cheers.

“I wanted to carry on the cultural art of tradition that is traditional Lion and Dragon dancing – but with a modern twist to it,” Danh explained. “Because it’s been so incredibly successfully, we wanted to do more.”

So, in 2021, he and others started the White Lotus Foundation. The White Lotus Lion Dance is a program of the foundation, which is also charged with creating culturally relevant events.

Watch video highlights of this new, fun event, held in East Portland:

“Our foundation is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization that is committed to empowering individuals in the AAPI community,” remarked Danh. “These events support small local business owners, creators, and performers, while we celebrate the community and support one another.”

From the number of guests inside THE Redd, clearly it was wise that organizers made this a ticketed event, to put a limit on the number of people attending.

The best part of the festival for him? Danh said, “It’s that I get to represent my peers as I put on these events to that helps highlight their work, their talent, and supporting them.

“That’s the most rewarding feeling,” he smiled, as he left to work with volunteers.

As it turned out, the Portland Spring Festival 2023 “sold out” of both free and “fast-pass” tickets; bringing some3,000 guests to the one-night event.

As evening falls and the night chill comes on, a fire pit attracts guests.

Find out more about the White Lotus Foundation by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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