Organizers of the Chinatown/ID Lunar New Year Celebration, the CIDBIA, prayed that there would be no rain on Lunar New Year’s eve.
Is this realistic? Seattle is famous for drizzles.
Light rain did fall in the ID on Feb. 13 during the festival. However, it stopped during the inaugural children’s parade and native costume contest. You may call it a miracle.
No, the rain did not dampen the spirits of those who wanted to experience the Lunar New Year. The turnout was better than last year’s (even though last year’s was record-breaking), according to several businesses.
Yummy Bakery owner Sam Poon said that business was great. As late as 6 p.m., there were customers still walking into his bakery for goodies. Last year, the activity died down quietly at 4 p.m.
Last year, the crowd was mainly at King Street where the program and pavilion were.
This year, pedestrians were all over the ID.
At noon, I was standing around South Weller and Sixth Avenue South outside Uwajimaya. People were chasing the sound of the gongs and drums of the lion and dragon dance. Thousands of people watched the lion jump high to eat the lettuce hanging outside Shanghai Garden Restaurant. I had never seen so many people on Sixth Avenue.
Doing a kids’ show is filled with surprises. Wonderful surprises. Quite a few babies joined the parade. Moms had to carry the little ones. A few kids joined in the contest late. They went across Jackson Street and bought costumes. They were smiling when they dressed up.
I was touched by their joy and spirit.
What do you do when the kid screams on stage or refuses to leave? Have you seen a 2-year-old pose like a professional model with one leg behind and a hand on her waist?
What about a 4-year-old who only pays attention on what’s going on behind her and does not look at the audience in front?
Luckily, I was not one of the judges.
I was the emcee, and it was more challenging than I thought.
The truth is, kids do not listen to the master of ceremonies at all. How could I blame them when they were enjoying the moment and curious about the world around them? We did not have a rehearsal. Instructions were given to the parents and not the kids, who behaved as if they were lost in translation.
To move the kids from the left to the right side of the stage, I had to coerce and drag them. One of my jobs was to keep the program on time.
Even with 80 contestants, I did the whole show in 20 minutes, 10 minutes ahead of schedule, including announcing the three winners and 20 finalists. Contestants claimed their prizes and certificates at the Northwest Asian Weekly office afterward.
We like to thank all the parents and grandparents for doing a fine job in dressing their kids in fun and colorful costumes.
What held the kids together?
Maribeth Ellis, BIA executive director, bought us a rope so the kids could hold it and walk smoothly from the Northwest Asian Weekly office to the stage. It was about a half-block walk. Of course, the cops joined the parade by blocking the road for the children and adults to cross. And many volunteers helped in the parade. ♦