Central Florida Dragon Parade welcomes the year of goat

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On February 22, 2015, Orlando’s Fashion Square Mall hosted the 4th-Annual Central Florida Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival, welcoming in the year of the goat. The festivities started off outside, with the Dragon parade followed by 5 hours of festivities and entertainment inside. The turnout was phenomenal, and a great time was had by all.

Although this is the fourth consecutive year Orlando has celebrated the Lunar New Year Festival, this is the first time the festival has been hosted at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall. The Dragon parade wound through the mall parking lot and neighboring streets, and its participants included city officials, Asian organizations, several dance troupes, martial arts schools, youth groups, beauty queens and much more. REACH of Central Florida (www.reachocf.org) , one of the organizations of this event and is the high-school youth group that I am in, paraded with flags and many REACH members wowed guests by participating in the Orlando Young Lions’ action packed lion dances. The parade culminated just outside the main entrance between Macy’s and Dillards, where several food trucks and food vendors were stationed, providing a tasty ethnic cuisines.

Photo: Henry Ton, Marty Fries, Justin Chu, and C.K. Lau (To view the photo album, visit www.facebook.com/Orlando.Dragon.Parade)

Following the parade, the festivities continued inside the lobby and stage of the mall. Guests were welcomed by Orlando’s mayor, Buddy Dyer, and were subsequently treated to dazzling on-stage performances – ethnic fashion shows, musical and dance performances, and arts and crafts. The Lunar New Year Festival’s admission was free for the thousands of patrons and was made possible by numerous sponsors: Orlando Fashion Square Mall, Florida Hospital, Orlando City Soccer, 1st Oriental Supermarket, 1st Spring Supermarket, OUC, Payas Payas Payas, Walgreens, Bright House Networks, and Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to everyone who came out, and happy Lunar New Year! We hope to see you again next year in the year of the Monkey!

Article: Bryan Truong – Junior at Winter Park High School
Historian of REACH of Central Florida

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