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No dragons, shared dishes at pandemic-dampened Pattaya Vegetarian Festival

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The coronavirus pandemic has claimed its most exotic victims: the Pattaya Vegetarian Festival’s dancing lions and dragons.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed its most exotic victims: the Pattaya Vegetarian Festival’s dancing lions and dragons.

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Prasit Thongtitcharoen, rescue chief for the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation, which organizes the annual festival, said social-distancing rules don’t allow for putting several people in close quarters inside the costumes. So, this year’s parade won’t have the staple of Chinese celebrations.

Prasit Thongtitcharoen, rescue chief for the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation, explains why this year’s Pattaya Vegetarian Festival has to undergo health-related changes.

The festival, running Oct. 16-26, will be unlike any past event in other ways. While Sawang Boriboon still plans to offer three free vegetarian meals a day for three days, dining times will be limited to one hour – at 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. – and all meals will be served in individual packages with no communal dishes. Seating also will be spaced apart, a departure from the large group tables of the past.

The fair also will see fewer vendors than in the past, another measure intended to limit crowd sizes in deference to disease-control measures. All attending also will have the standard temperature checks, Thai Chana check-ins and use of hand sanitizer.

Social-distancing rules also will see fewer vendors than in the past.

Without the customary lions and dragons, this year’s parade will only feature vegetarian flags, gods, and faithful people in the possession.

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