June 5, 2023

Downtown Riverside was full of colorful decorations from beautiful lanterns to dramatic masks flooding the streets Jan. 27 at the Asian Pacific Lunar New Year Festival.

Riverside has supported the Asian culture for 27 years by hosting this event and is one of the only cities that holds celebrations for the Asian New Year, making it even more special for those who attend.

The event featured different ways to celebrate the new year such as traditional Asian music, dance performances, martial arts, art displays and taiko drums.

Starting at 10 a.m., attendees witnessed an entertaining Parade of Nations floating through the town.

King Zhang, Principal of the Inland Empire Chinese School, said this event is the largest Asian event in Southern California.

“There were about 80,000 people who attended this event supporting the culture,” Zhang said. “This event not only promotes Asian schools but the Asian culture as well. More people are coming and want to know more about the culture.”

Zhang said the festival is diverse and brings all people together.

“We, as a school, appreciate this event because there are not a lot of Asian ethnic groups in Riverside. You can really feel the cultural diversity from everyone and mingle among each other,” he added.

Four different performance stages were set up throughout the streets so entertainment surrounded festival-goers. Dancers and singers filled the stages with diverse performances.

This event was family-oriented and featured free arts and crafts for children.

Visitors and entertainers dressed up for the occasion to show their cultural pride.

Joncel Gonzalez, sophomore pre-nursing major, said the festival is a great event for the Asian community to celebrate their heritage.

“This event makes Asians feel at home,” Gonzalez said.

.Marquise Compton, sophomore aviation flight major, said he enjoyed different cultures celebrating among each other.

“It’s nice to see people from all ethnicities come together,” Compton said. “People from different communities were able to experience a culture other than their own.”

Through events the festival, people from all cultural backgrounds were able to experience what the New Year means to the Asian culture.

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