Cambodia Town Parade & Festival Returns
The Cambodia Town Parade and Cultural Festival, one of Long Beach’s most popular and entertaining cultural events, returns for the 15th year, Sunday, April 2, beginning at 10 a.m.
The parade, which will include floats, re-enactments, dancers, groups in authentic Khmer attire as well as other groups representing other diverse communities, commences at Cherry Avenue and Anaheim Street then travels west on Anaheim until it finishes about a half-mile later at MacArthur Park.
There, from 1-5 p.m., the festival takes center stage, quite literally, with multiple performances scheduled, as well as local Khmer artisans, games and, of course, food.
“We’ll have all kinds of Cambodian food,” said Richer San, a member of the board of directors of Cambodia Town Inc. “We welcome people to walk around and try it all.”
The parade and festival not only provides the Khmer community with an opportunity to come together, but to welcome others into the vibrant circle of this tight knit community.
“This means a lot to us,” said Richer San, who is on the board of directors of Cambodia Town Inc. “We want to share our culture with Long Beach. So many good things come from this.”
Cambodia Town, focused in and around a 1.2-mile stretch of Anaheim Street between Atlantic and Junipero avenues, is home to the largest concentration of Cambodians of any city outside of Asia. Its business district includes numerous restaurants, clothing stores, jewelry stores and temples, most of which will be open during the parade and festival and eager to welcome folks to the neighborhood.
The parade began in 2005, becoming the first Cambodian parade outside of Cambodia itself. San said the event was meant to serve as “a unifying force for Cambodians in Long Beach,” an apt motivation given that the theme of this year’s event is “Stop Hate With Love.”
The intention of the parade and festival has always focused on presenting Cambodian cultural customs and traditions to change the social and economic well-being of residents and business owners, while also giving a strengthened identity to the community’s children.
Last year’s event attracted several thousand spectators and was watched on social media by more than 5 million viewers.
As it has over the course of its decades-plus growth, the success of this year’s event is the result of the financial input of many in and around Long Beach as well as the efforts of countless volunteers putting in countless hours.
“It’s the volunteers who make sure this happens every year,” San said. “This year it’s going to be bigger and better, and the volunteers are the ones who do that.”