Today, you should… celebrate at not one, but two holiday festivals

SATURDAY, DEC. 7

The theme of the 37th Annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade is “Your Holidays Start on 2nd” and it figures to be rife with what’s made the previous 36 so much fun: kids spilling into the street, parents attempting to corral said kids, cheers, waves, high-fives, holiday lights, snow-like confetti spewed into the cold night air, high school bands putting on their best show, the drum corps rallying the crowd, teenagers crowding the no longer-Jack in the Box parking lot. It just doesn’t get much better, or traditional, than this.

Not to mention, Beverly O’Neill, Long Beach’s only three-term citywide elected mayor, will serve as Grand Marshal, while parade floats will be judged on spectator appeal, execution of theme and originality of design.

Plus, this event will be lousy with Long Beach Post personnel. The entire staff will actually be in the parade, though we’re not sure if we’ll be riding, marching, strolling or doing that 2nd Street thing where you just keep moving without making eye contact with anyone. Also, our own Tim Grobaty will, once again, be providing live commentary about the parade to the assembled. Some of Tim’s gems from parades past: “Hey, look at that!” and “Well, will you look at that!” as well as “Why aren’t my work colleagues making eye contact with me?”

The parade begins on Livingston Drive and runs along Second Street from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Belmont Shore side streets will be closed at 3 p.m. while Second Street will be closed to traffic at 4:30 p.m. Livingston from Termino Avenue to Second Street will be closed off at 2 p.m. For more info, visit the event page here.

Another great thing:

Nkauj Ci Iad, a traditional Hmong dance group, perform during the 11th Annual Cambodia Town Culture Festival. Photo by Stephen Carr.

The local Hmong community will celebrate its annual New Year festival today and Sunday at El Dorado Park, showcasing cultural dances, food and activities paying reverence to ancestors and giving thanks to the year’s prosperity.

“For anyone who is curious about the Hmong, our festival is the place to see something unique,” said festival director Casie Yang of the Hmong Association of Long Beach.

The festivities will begin with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 wherein an honored elder cuts a ribbon that symbolizes opening the gate into the new year.

This year, that honoree is Dixie Swift, the co-founder of Homeland Cultural Center in 1992 and the reason why the Hmong community can continue to teach its culture to the next generation. Located in MacArthur Park in Central Long Beach, Swift’s efforts have allowed various cultural programs to be offered for free at the center, including a Hmong program called “Qeej Not Gangs.”

The festival’s opening performance will be conducted by the “Qeej Not Gangs” students who will showcase what they’ve learned all year. It will be followed by local, regional and national Hmong master artists and youth, organizers said.

Guests can also try their hand at ball toss, a traditional courting game where youth would meet each other while attending festivals in each other’s towns, according to Qeej Not Gangs Director Gorlia Xiong. (Stephanie Rivera)

The Hmong New Year Festival will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7-8 in the Golden Grove section of the park. The festival is free to attend. Parking at the park is $8 per vehicle. El Dorado Park is located at 7550 E. Spring St. For more information click here.

Giving us a moment’s pause: We’re good.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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