New Year In The Park Festival

posted by Brad Ford -

Join Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and community partners for the 4th annual New Year in the Park festival, celebrating Cambodian, Lao, Thai and Burmese cultures. Experience cultural music and dance performances, food made from authentic recipes, vendors, traditional games and more. The daylong event at PP&R’s Glenhaven Park is free and open to all. PP&R will also reveal the final design for Glenhaven’s new playground, funded by the Parks Replacement Bond and System Development Charges from citywide construction revenue. Stop by the PP&R tent to see the draft final design. Translation in Vietnamese will be available. Thông dịch tiếng Việt.

WHAT: New Year in the Park – a celebration of Southeast Asian culture and heritage. Free and open to all.

WHEN: Saturday, April 28, 2018, 9:30am-6pm

WHERE: Glenhaven Park, NE 82nd Avenue & Siskiyou Street

Event website: newyearinthepark.com 

“Integrating refugees and immigrants into our community makes Portland increasingly richer and culturally diverse,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “New Year in the Park is an opportunity both to celebrate the cultures of Southeast Asia, and to reaffirm that Portland Parks & Recreation is inclusive - and a safe place for everyone. That goes for all neighbors, whether they’ve been in Portland for a week - or for their entire lives.”

The New Year is the most important festival which celebrates the vibrant and rich Southeast Asian cultures. Cambodian, Laotian, Thai and Burmese cultures all celebrate New Year each April, but historically, Portland’s communities always held separate celebrations.  Now, for the fourth straight year, the different but equally fascinating languages and cultures are coming together to foster greater understanding and appreciation of these proud communities. Thousands of people attended 2017’s New Year in the Park.

"The success of New Year in the Park is a dream come true, just as I had hoped,” beams Saron Khut, one of the creators of the annual event. “I love seeing the community coming together to celebrate this joyous festival, and the continued strong support from the neighborhood, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the City. I am so proud of our Southeast Asian communities for doing an incredible job at organizing and raising more than $20,000 to make this event happen. They are awesome! Sursdey Chnum Tmey; or in English, Happy New Year!"

FEATURING PERFORMANCES BY

  • Cambodian-American Community of Oregon 
  • Vietnamese Dual Emersion Program  
  • Oregon Cambodian Buddhist Society 
  • Hmong Cute Girls  
  • Thai Boxing by Muay Thai
  • Mekong Band 
  • Khana Luke Larn Lao  
  • Kinnaly Lao Music & Dance School    
  • Hmong Shining Sun 
  • Tender Table
  • Little Thai Bumblebee School  
  • Thai Association of Oregon  
  • Burmese Community of Oregon  
  • Douang Champa Lao Band
  • Lao Youth Soccer

“The multicultural New Year celebration is another important step towards the inclusion of all Portlanders in enjoying our parks and natural areas,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “We want all Portlanders, regardless of culture, background, ethnicity or gender to know that the parks belong to you. We will continue to work hard to remove or reduce barriers to access and participation for everyone, including communities of color, people with disabilities, or recent immigrants.”

New Year in the Park - founded by a refugee

Saron Khut, the creator of Portland’s New Year in the Park celebration, lived through the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The group’s leaders slaughtered more than 1 million victims. Khut has been a Portlander and a business owner for more than 35 years. 

“I was so happy to be in America, even though I knew nothing about the country, the language, the culture,” Khut recalls of coming to the Rose City. “As I grew up in Portland I tried to assimilate as much as I could, but I still valued the culture of my homeland. I want my children to realize who and where they come from. That’s why it is so special to partner with Portland Parks & Recreation, to tie my current home and city to my native land and culture. 

“It is special to see the New Year in the Park celebration return for its third year,” he added. “And to be a part of PP&R’s efforts to help newcomers to Portland realize the opportunities available to them, as well as to realize their own potential. Immigrant communities need to feel safe, to learn that they are welcome in public spaces – this is not something that always comes naturally to people from other countries. PP&R’s efforts towards inclusion are vital, and the Bureau’s support has been outstanding.

“PP&R is helping us realize the dream of having a celebration this diverse, this large, and this fun, for the third straight year.”

VALUED SPONSORS

  • Central Northeast Neighbors
  • Hmong American Community of Oregon
  • Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)
  • Providence Health & Services
  • City of Portland
  • Multnomah County Cultural Coalition
  • Michelle Cao Law, LLC
  • OMMUNITY PARTNERS:
  • The Asian Reporter 
  • E-San Thai
  • Key Bank
  • Chang Thai Bambuza
  • Portland PartyWorks

Source: Portland Parks and Recreation

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