Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival Mass Shooting - FS Drinks

Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival Mass Shooting

As many know, a tragic mass shooting incident occurred last night around 10pm near the Monterey Park, California Lunar New Year Festival where we, FS Drinks, had a booth handing out free boba drinks and giving away 6-pack, 12-pack, and 24-pack prizes to visitors.  

This led to the festival, which was slated to run all weekend, to be canceled today. We returned to our booth this morning to collect our gear as police officers had cordoned off the entire area and at least two helicopters hovered overhead. 

At least 10 people are dead with many more injured. At time of writing, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has released photos of the suspect and have had a SWAT standoff with the possible suspect in Torrance that has ended with a suicide.

Suffice to say, this has not been the most auspicious start to the Year of the Rabbit and we, like everyone else, are intimately shocked and saddened by what has happened. 

I, personally, had parked right next to the dance studio where the shooting occurred yesterday morning for the day. Were it not for us running out of stock by 4pm and leaving by 5pm, instead of our original plans to be at the festival all day until 9pm, I very well could have been at the location of the shooting right as it happened.

It's difficult to put into words how it feels to have been so close to such a violent tragedy, and to imagine the likelihood of personally being put in such life-and-death jeopardy. It's even more difficult to put into words how it must feel for those who are actually victims or those close to the victims.

We are a new and small company, a ragtag bunch of quirky individuals working together remotely across the country. For all our hopes and dreams developing and delivering a lifestyle drink like RTD ready-to-drink bottled boba beverages, and our penchant for silly-to-cringe humor, we feel particularly helpless in expressing the many emotions we feel.

Yesterday began as a good day and, for much of the day, it remained so. We're under no delusions of the crowd that the offer of free boba drinks would bring to our booth, and we had massive crowds of festival attendees lining up to try our drinks and chat with us. We met many of you, fist-bumped with more than a few adorable children with the cutest names, and were repeatedly flattered by those who raved about beverages, asking where they could purchase.

Crowds and lines at the 2023 Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival FS Drinks booth.
Crowds at the FS Drinks booth at the 2023 Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival on Saturday, January 21, 2023.

The lines first formed to the left of our booth, leading to event organizers to put down red tape in an S formation in front of our booth. As booth visitors became confused by the S formation, they tried to re-tape it into two lines for the two of us who were serving visitors. Crowds are organic phenomena, and the lines eventually merged back into one that snacked over to the right of our booth, leading to neighboring vendors coming to us with complaints. 

We kicked ourselves for running out of stock, and were prepared to continue introducing our happy, bouncy boba paired with the premium black and green teas and sweet mango juice to Los Angeles residents today. Our mango juice and Hojicha green tea drinks had ran out the quickest, and we were excited to bring more from our Los Angeles warehouse. As tired and hoarse as we were from yesterday, we were ready to continue our mission to elevate boba drinks to their rightful place in the world.

But not today.

It's a bit of hyperbole, something to bring a knowing smile to those of us who share our love for boba, but deep down in our hearts, the happiness we feel when consuming boba really could bring about world peace.

But it didn't happen yesterday.

FS Drinks empty booth following Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival mass shooting incident. Banner reads, "Drink boba for world peace."
Our booth as we tore it down Sunday morning after the cancelation of the 2023 Monterey Park Lunary New Year Festival following a nearby mass shooting.

We at FS Drinks deeply thank everyone who visited our booth yesterday, who lined up patiently to try our drinks, who later posted photos mentioning us on social media, who later placed orders on our website, and who sought to celebrate the start of a new lunar year with us and boba.

Please stay safe and be the kind person for all around you so fewer of these tragedies will happen among us all.    

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