Celebrating Our Culture While Promoting Our Community
Thai CDC employs cultural preservation, heritage marketing and the revitalization of public spaces as strategies for economic development. To promote Thai culture and tourism in Thai Town, we work with the community, businesses and the Thai government to organize the Annual Thai New Year’s Day Songkran Festival and the Annual Thai Cultural Day.
The purpose of the Thai New Year’s Day Songkran Festival in Thai Town:
- Expose Thai traditional and contemporary culture and folk art to the diverse communities of Los Angeles so that everyone will come to understand and appreciate Thai culture with the help of the Thai government, Thai merchants, and local Thai organizations.
- Showcase Thailand as a premiere destination to visit, which in turn will help generate tourism in Thailand.
- Demonstrate the political efficacy of the Thai community in Los Angeles to all levels of the US government in order to secure greater benefits and funds for the development of our community.
- Increase the spotlight on ” Thai Town ” on Hollywood Boulevard and encourage visitors to explore Thai Town and boost the local economy.
- Buddhist Monk Ceremony (Offering of alms to 80 monks)
- Thai Classical and Folk Dances from Thailand’s Ministry of Culture
- Muay Thai Boxing
- Miss Thai Town U.S.A. Contest
- Thai New Year Raffle Drawing
- Songkran Parade
Destination Tourism Programs:
- API Preserve America Neighborhood Coalition
- East Hollywood Streetscape
- Thai New Year’s Day Songkran Festival
- Thai Cultural Day
Songkran (Thai New Year) in Los Angeles
Thai New Year’s Day Songkran Festival Co-founded by Thai CDC and occurring on the first Sunday of April and originating in 2004, the festival attracts around 100,000 people annually. The Songkran Festival is a day of Thai culture, food , and entertainment on the streets of Thai Town on Hollywood Boulevard between Western and Normandie Avenues. A wide array of over 200 booths sell a variety of Thai food, beverages, silk, silver, ceramics, lacquerware, jewelry, plants, flowers, potteries, handicrafts, and more. People can also take part in the traditional water blessing, which involves the transfer of respect, love and good fortune between generations using water. Enjoy different cultural and musical dances, performances, and fashion shows as you walk down Hollywood Boulevard through the festival. For all the martial arts enthusiasts out there, watch male and female Thai kickboxing professionals compete for the title of Muay Thai Champion. For those who love Thai pop and alternative music, or those who are curious about current Thai pop culture and fashion, be sure to check out the music groups, fashion shows, and cultural activities held at three stages throughout the festival. Finally, cool off and relax with a cold beer at the Singha Thai Beer Garden.
The Thai New Year’s Day Songkran Festival Corporation comprising of local Thai community members and organizations collaborates with various sectors of the Thai government (i.e. Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tourism Authority of Thailand, etc.) including “Team Thailand” (Royal Thai Consulate General in LA, Thai Trade Center, Board Of Investment, Thai Airways International) to organize the festival. The Thai Community Development Center serves as an advisor to the festival corporation and plays a key role in permitting the event which entails a thirteen block street closure and in arranging the presence of local, state and federal elected officials at the event. Singha Beer has been the signature sponsor of the festival since its inception until now.
Thai Cultural Day
With the motto: “To Preserve and Promote Thai Culture,” Thai Cultural Day is an annual event held at Barnsdall Art Park to celebrate and teach others about the culture of Thailand through festive cultural performances including dance, traditional Thai instruments and other performances. Vendors are provided a chance to sell their arts and crafts, and organizations are provided a chance to promote their services and programs. Thai Cultural Day is annually spearheaded by the Thai Community Arts and Cultural Center along with the Thai Community Development Center and Wat Thai of Los Angeles.
The very first Thai Cultural Day was held by the Thai Community Arts and Cultural Center in September 1993 at Wat Thai of Los Angeles in North Hollywood. The main purpose of Thai Cultural Day is to preserve and promote Thai culture and provide an opportunity for different ethnic groups in Los Angeles to understand and appreciate Thai culture. Eventually, the site for Thai Cultural Day was moved to the Barnsdall Art Park in Hollywood because of its proximity to Thai Town and the park’s historical and artistic significance. Located just blocks or one Metro stop away along Hollywood Boulevard atop Olive Hill, Barnsdall Art Park is a famed arts center founded by Aline Barnsdall when she came out west to open a theater company. The historic landmark Hollyhock House and other structures were designed by renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Years later, Barnsdall donated the park to the City of Los Angeles after wishing to provide an accessible arts center. The Barnsdall Art Park is located on a location with phenomenal views of the city, Griffith Park Observatory, and the Hollywood sign.
The Thai Community Development Center plays a role in planning the event and also in providing updates on the status of projects in Thai Town and reporting survey outcomes on Thai Town tourism in a presentation to attendees.