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EVENTS : A Celebration of Cultures : The city's many summer festivals will honor ethnic foods and customs, from martial arts to moon cakes and mariachis.


Los Angeles may be the City of the Angels, but it's also a city of festivals: 165 are listed in a 1995 guide book published by the city's Cultural Affairs Department. Many celebrate the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles. So whether you're yearning for the cross-cultural experience or just want to have a good time, here's your chance.

The African International Village Festival continues this weekend at Leimert Park, at the corner of Crenshaw and Vernon avenues in Los Angeles. This festival celebrates traditional African and African-American culture. Foods from the African community as well as the Chinese and Korean will be available. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and admission is free. Call (213) 757-9860.

The Swedish-American Central Assn. sponsors its 75th annual Midsummer Festival this weekend. A coronation ball Saturday evening at the Golden Valley Auditorium in Van Nuys will be followed Sunday by a picnic at Vasa Park in Agoura. Picnic hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Activities include a pancake breakfast, dancing around the Maypole, swimming and contests. Tickets to the coronation ball are $12. Tickets to the picnic are $1.50. Call (818) 355-0111.

The sixth annual Mariachi USA Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl. This year's lineup will feature Junko Seki, a Japanese mariachi singer. Some of the other acts are Angeles Ochoa, Mariachi Campanas de America, Mariachi Cobre and an all-female act, Mariachi La Reyna de Los Angeles. Tickets range from $12.50 to $125. Shows will run from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 5 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Call (310) 451-5044.

The musical styles of many cultures will be highlighted today, Saturday and Sunday at the 15th annual Summer Solstice Folk Music, Dance & Storytelling Festival at Soka University in Calabasas. More than 300 workshops will be offered in various musical styles including Cajun, Bulgarian, Greek, Scottish, Irish and Andean. One-day tickets are $18. Call (818) 342-7664.

Echo Park, with the largest lotus bed in the United States, is the site of the 18th annual Lotus Festival on July 8 and 9. This celebration of Asian and Pacific Island culture will feature music, food, games, arts and crafts and dragon boat races, a flower island show, plus continuous entertainment and a children's area. Represented will be Samoa, Hawaii, New Zealand, Tonga, Tahiti, Fiji and the Cook and Marshall islands. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. July 8, noon to 8 p.m. July 9. Admission is free. Call (213) 485-1310.

The Bon Odori Festival, a Japanese Buddhist event that features outdoor folk dancing, Taiko drumming and bazaars, will be celebrated at temples throughout Los Angeles in July. In Pacoima, the San Fernando Valley Buddhist Temple's festival starts at 4 p.m. July 22 and 23. Admission is free. Call (818) 899-4030.

A Hokule'a Festival, scheduled for July 13 to 18 at the Long Beach TraveLodge, celebrates native Hawaiian cultural and traditional arts, ceremonies and values, as associated with Hokule'a, the Polynesian voyaging canoe. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free. Call (310) 940-7202.

The Melting Pot Festival, taking place 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 29 and 30 at Victoria Regional Park in Carson, will have food and entertainment from Brazilian, Thai, Japanese, Mexican, African and other cultures. Admission is $3 general, children 4 and under are free. Call (310) 915-5200.

San Gabriel's Asi Es Mi Tierra Festival, which runs from 7:30 to 11 p.m. July 28 and 29 at the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, will offer two days of mariachi shows. Tickets range from $30 to $98. Call (818) 285-2221.

The 55th annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival is Aug. 12 to 20 in Little Tokyo. The festival is named after second-generation Japanese Americans, and celebrates traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. Most events are free, but some are by invitation only, and others need tickets. Featured will be traditional tea ceremonies, swordsmanship, calligraphy, ceramics, dolls, martial arts and fashion. Contemporary events will include storytelling, arts and crafts, a photo contest, sports, a car show, parade, carnival, 5K run and entertainment. Call (213) 687-7193.

The 59th annual Hungarian Festival will feature folk singing and dancing, Gypsy music, food, prizes and a children's program. The event, sponsored by California Hungarians Weekly, will be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 6 at Alpine Village in Torrance. Tickets are $3.50 general, $1.50 seniors; children 12 and younger, free. Call (213) 463-3473.

The 10th anniversary African Marketplace and Cultural Faire will be Aug. 19, 20, 26, 27, and Sept. 2 to 4 at Rancho Cienega Park in Los Angeles. The event celebrates the African Diaspora and will have more than 350 arts and crafts vendors, seven stages with continuous entertainment, and food representing more than 22 African cultures and 40 countries. Admission is $3 general; children 10 and younger are free. Call (213) 734-1164.

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