by Ronnie Estoque
Last Saturday, April 29, community members unified for the 20th Annual White Center Cambodian New Year Street Festival. The event was organized by the Cambodian Cultural Alliance of Washington, and featured live musical performances, delicious traditional cuisine, dancing, vendors, and plenty of smiles and laughter on a day where the sun shone brightly.
Sophia Som manages Outreach and Social Media for the Cambodian Cultural Alliance of Washington, and helped organize the event alongside Pharin Kong, Sophal Hamaker, Savuth Som, Ley Soy, Vichea Neav, Jenny Tisa, Sopha Danh, Charm Sok, Vuthy Nouv, Robert Mark, Chanphally Tan, and Mary Tieng.
“This is our 20th annual street festival. It’s important to us because a majority of our members have been planning and celebrating for 20 years, since 2003,” Som said. “The longevity of it all is proof to the community and to us that with commitment, shared values and missions, anything can withstand time.”
Organizers began planning the event last September, with monthly meetings occurring virtually until January, when the group began to meet in the Joe Thomas Room at the YWCA Greenbridge. Their organization hopes the event instilled a sense of unity, resiliency, and inclusion within the Cambodian community and surrounding area.
“We hope that for future events and festivals, we are able to make it better and better to accommodate the growing crowd,” Som said.
“We also have hopes to showcase more of local community artists, vendors and performances, and also we hope to expand the festival to a larger block,” Som said. “We hope it will showcase the diverse community White Center has to offer.”
Ronnie Estoque is a South Seattle-based freelance photographer and videographer. You can keep up with his work by checking out his website.
📸 Featured Image: Lively performances of traditional Cambodian music kept the crowd energized and dancing during the event. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Before you move on to the next story … The South Seattle Emerald is brought to you by Rainmakers. Rainmakers give recurring gifts at any amount. With over 1,000 Rainmakers, the Emerald is truly community-driven local media. Help us keep BIPOC-led media free and accessible. If just half of our readers signed up to give $6 a month, we wouldn't have to fundraise for the rest of the year. Small amounts make a difference. We cannot do this work without you. Become a Rainmaker today!