(Portland, OR) –
All are welcome to join community partners and Portland Parks & Recreation at the second annual Cambodian/Lao/Thai/Burmese New Year in the Park. Four vibrant Southeast Asian cultures join together for a day full of food, music, dance and games on Saturday, April 30, 2016. More than 6,000 people from diverse cultural backgrounds attended last year. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales will be the 2016 keynote speaker.
WHAT: Second annual Cambodian/Lao/Thai/Burmese New Year in the Park
WHERE: Glenhaven Park, NE 82nd Avenue and Siskiyou Street
WHEN: 10am–6pm on Saturday, April 30, 2016
WHY: A chance to celebrate with Portland’s Cambodian, Lao, Thai, and Burmese communities, each of which celebrate New Year in April.
WHO: All are welcome to this free and exciting cultural celebration.
“Portland is increasingly culturally diverse, and much of that has come with the integration of refugees and immigrants into our community,” says Mayor Charlie Hales, the event’s keynote speaker. “From the Jade Night Market, to the Portland Mercado, to the Cambodian/Lao/Thai/Burmese New Year in the Park, Portland is made richer because we’ve welcomed new neighbors.”
“Many immigrant and refugee families have faced tremendous challenges,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “It is important that Portland parks are inclusive of our diverse communities.This multicultural New Year Celebration is another important step towards the inclusion of all Portlanders in enjoyment of our shared parks.”
Cambodia, Laotian, Thai and Burmese cultures all celebrate New Year each April, but historically, Portland’s communities always held separate celebrations. Now, for the second straight year, the different but equally fascinating languages and cultures are coming together to celebrate.
The list of performers, games and food vendors includes the following:
- Cambodian Dance Troupe of Oregon, Cambodian American Community of Oregon, Khana Luke Larn Lao Dance Troupe, Kinnaly Lao Music & Dance Troupe, Thai Bumblebee, Thai Association, Burmese Community of Oregon
- Music by Cambodian, Lao and Thai live bands
- Keynote speaker: Mayor Charlie Hales
- Master of ceremonies: Polo Catalani, program coordinator for the City of Portland’s New Portlander program, and Chanpone Sinlapasai-Okamura, Board President of the Immigrant Refugee Community of Oregon
- Inflatable slide
- Rock climbing wall
- Arts and crafts, including origami
- Basketball courts, tennis courts, playground
- Paithong (Lao)
- Mekong Bistro (Khmer)
- Amara Teriyaki (Khmer)
- Khune Jo (Thai)
- Thai Pasta (Thai)
- Khao Niew (Lao)
- Talay Thai (Lao)
- Heather Fresh (Hmong)
- Lily Market (Thai)
- Ling Yang (Hmong)
“Portland’s parks, natural areas and programs are for everyone,” 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. Welcome to your Portland Parks & Recreation.”
“Our communities are so excited to bring our cultures together, and for another chance to celebrate and share our heritage,” says Youthachak Chanthanouvong, the newly-elected merchant vendor Co-Chair for the New Year in the Park.
History of New Year in the Park
Saron Khut, the owner of the Cambodian restaurant Mekong Bistro, had the idea to plan a Cambodian New Year celebration at Glenhaven Park, across the street from his restaurant. One day, a few Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) staff came in for lunch, and Saron approached them about the possibility of sponsoring the event. PP&R happily signed on, and the event expanded to include the Lao community with help from Saron’s wife, who is Lao, and the Lao Business Association, and then members of the Thai and Burmese communities. The event promises another collaboration by and celebration of a group of relatively recently-arrived immigrants and refugees in their new and shared home state of Oregon.
To volunteer, contact April Meas at email@example.com or Karn Saetang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to the sponsors who are making this event possible:
- Hmong American Community of Oregon
- NWAS Volleyball
- Portland State University, School of Business
- Providence Health & Services
- Portland Parks & Recreation
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