I admit that the Central Florida Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival is the biggest thing I have ever done so far in my life.
This crazy idea came into life four years ago when the Executive Director of Mills 50 Joanne Grant reached out to me through Ricky Ly for ways to promote the Mills 50 District to the local Asian businesses, restaurants, and markets. Growing up in Hong Kong, the Lunar New Year Parade was the biggest celebration for all of the community, and so I told her organizing a big scale parade is the best method without a doubt.
Under the leadership of Joanne Grant, Agnes Chau from YESS, Pauline Ho from REACH, and CK Lau from Asia Trend, this dream for a parade celebrating and uniting the community came true four years ago. I would notdare to dream that this little dream could go so far today, four years later.
Believe it or not, I would always say that this is the last year we’re doing this parade, every year. We were all so very exhausted with such limited resources and support. When we decided to move to the new location at Orlando Fashion Square in last August, we even received some negative feedback about being away from the downtown Mills neighborhood. Fortunately, we were not discouraged and once again achieved our goal this year by making a plan and taking an action to bring together the community.
Photo: Henry Ton, Marty Fries, Justin Chu, and C.K. Lau (To view the photo album, visit www.facebook.com/Orlando.Dragon.Parade)
I conceived the festival’s theme – “Unity and Harmony, A Celebration of Diversity” from day one for this festival and finally, I believe this theme was achieved this year. I lost count of how many attendees were in the audience this past Sunday at the festival. The number of people for me is not important. The thing that moved me the most is to see how engaged the younger generation was this year as this festival is for them. Tears came down my eyes when I looked up to see the audience, packing the entire second floor all around the stage area. Thank you for all your support and kind words.
After all of this though, I still wonder why no TV stations bothered to show up to the festival even though we emailed them a month ago, called each of them two weeks ago, and called one day prior. Why don’t the local TV stations care about the festival? Well, who cares about them now. I will let them figure out if they want to show up next year or not. I feel so sorry for those people reply on them to get the latest news. Thank you, Orlando Sentinel for being the only mainstream media out there at the festival and covering it for the community.
Dreams will come true if you believe.