Parol Festival Now on its Tenth Year in San Francisco

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San Francisco – On Saturday, December 8, 2012, the annual Parol Lantern Festival and Parade is celebrating its tenth year as ‘Only in San Francisco’ and a must-see event during the holiday season.

The Filipino community is proud to have launched the beautiful Christmas tradition from the Philippines in the heart of San Francisco. The annual event has gotten better, bigger, broader, and brighter every year since its first edition in 2003.

Parol is a Filipino term for star or Christmas lantern. The Philippine lantern has its roots in the celebration of Christmas — the Star of Bethlehem that guided the shepherds and the three kings to the manger where Jesus Christ was born. Making parol lantern is a popular art and craft in the Philippines. Most Christian Filipino houses adorn their front windows with a parol.

The Filipino community holds this annual event in San Francisco to rekindle the inter-village fest in Philippine town plaza during the holiday season. As early as September, neighborhood and community groups are busy organizing and preparing their contingents for the Parol Lantern Parade which is held on the second Saturday of December.

Since 2006 contingents have geared up for the annual Parol Festival for the festive stroll to display their lanterns which are creatively produced by their members and to vie for the esteemed Tala Award Grand Prize.
The theme for its tenth anniversary is “Beacon of Our Home!” Contingents are expected to creatively interpret and express this theme through their lantern and group performance. The top three winners will receive cash prizes.
The Parol Festival is a family fun-filled evening of music, games and prizes with the brightly lit and colorful parol lanterns. Festival opens at 5 pm with entertainment and Parol Gallery at the Jessie Square. The Parol Parade starts at 6:15 pm at the Yerba Buena Gardens and stroll towards Yerba Buena Lane to Jessie Square.
The program and Tala Awards will be held in Jessie Square, an outdoor event. However, in case of rain, the parade will be cancelled and all program activities will take place inside St. Patrick’s Church at 6:30. The Jessie Square, St. Patrick’s Church and Yerba Buena Gardens are located on Mission Street between 3rd and 4th Street in South of Market.

The Bayanihan Community Center (located on 1010 Mission Street and 6th Street) hosts FREE parol-making workshops on Fridays, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Parol making materials are also available at the Center for sale.

The parol festival is presented by the Filipino American Development Foundation and KulArts, in partnership with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, MJM Management, St. Patrick’s Parish, and supported by the Grants for the Arts, ABS-CBN International, Yerba Buena Community Benefit District, and Western Union. For more information, please contact Parol Festival at 415-348-8042, email parolsf@gmail.com or visit www.bayanihancc.org and http://kularts.org/wp/kularts-presents/parol-festival/.

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