The plan was – go out, have some Mexican food and then go for a hike in the park. As it sometimes happens with plans, this came to naught because we passed a banner saying “Lithuanian Fair.” How could we resist? We parked the car, paid our entry fee and wandered in. First some food, very yummy. Then we were treated to a speech opening the fair. The speech was not too lengthy, which was good, because it was given in Lithuanian. After some songs by two choirs a folk dance group took the stage.
That was some spirited dancing! Such a pretty sight, these lovely young women (later joined by some equally good looking young men) in their colorful traditional costumes, showing off their skills.
Anyway, we still wanted to do our hike, so we checked out the stalls at the fair after the dance performance at a pretty fast clip before leaving. It struck us as slightly strange that at each and every stall we were first addressed in Lithuanian and only upon signaling that we were not able to understand did the very friendly stall operators switch to English. Upon arriving back home my curiosity got the better of me and I checked out “Lithuanians in Los Angeles” on the Internet. It turned out that by pure chance we had stumbled upon the largest Lithuanian fair outside of Lithuania. With only 10.000 people of Lithuanian descent living in Los Angeles, of which only 2.000 still speak their native language, for 60 years this fair has been the annual highlight of this smallish community.
So they do keep up their traditions. They also try to keep up their language with a school of their own which operates on Saturdays. But – they also live completely in the here and now, as is amply demonstrated by this photo from the sidelines: