Northwest Asian Weekly
For the second year in a row, Washington’s most racially Asian American city will be welcoming the Year of the Snake in its own way, with a festival hosted at the Center Court of Bellevue Square.
The Bellevue Collection, Taiwan Benevolent Association of America, and Overseas Chinese Affairs Council of Taiwan will present the Lunar New Year Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 23 with programming from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The celebration will feature cultural demonstrations, including martial arts demonstrations, opera and dance performances, and visual arts, and more. Groups performing include members of the Washington Chinese Youth Orchestra, Huayin Performing Arts Group, Seattle Beijing Opera Art School, the South Puget Sound Chinese Language School, Seattle Folk Dance Club, and Hengda Dance Academy.
In addition to the previous year’s popular activities, 2013’s celebration brings with it several additions to the program.
Newcomers for 2013 include martial arts demonstrations from the Wudang International Martial Arts Academy, Guanjiang Shou by Taiwan Traditional Folk Performing Troupe, and traditional Chinese paper-cutting and knotting artists.
Din Tai Fung Dumpling House will be in attendance and serving free dumplings.
The Wing Luke museum will also be in attendance, giving away gift certificates and museum tickets.
The festival is open to audiences of all ages and is completely free of charge.
Though only its second year at the Bellevue Center, the Lunar New Year Celebration has a longer history.
Event Planner and Coordinator Taidi Fang started the event years ago as a way to educate people about Chinese culture.
“I wanted to promote Chinese culture and let Americans learn the beauty of Chinese culture,” Fang said. “This is really grassroots diplomacy for Taiwan. I hope that events like these will help the U.S. see how important Taiwan is as a partner.”
The festival started small, taking place at a smaller community center in Bellevue, but quickly found itself running out of space. Though Fang wanted to grow the festival to a larger venue, getting there wasn’t easy. She says it took a lot of calls and a lot of running around.
“I pushed and pushed and didn’t ask them for money,” Fang said. “I told them, ‘I’ll give you a show.’ I convinced them, and I didn’t give up. I provided them something without taking something.”
Eventually, Bellevue Square accepted the opportunity and provided a venue last year, drawing over 40,000 attendees.
This year’s event is expected to grow even larger and is being staffed by over 40 volunteers. Bellevue Square is giving even more for the event, including providing staging, sound support, and marketing support.
“Bellevue Square and The Bellevue Collection has a unique opportunity to bring people together to share and learn about the many cultures that represent our vibrant region,” Jennifer Leavitt, Vice President of Marketing for the Kemper Development Company, owners of Bellevue Square, said. “We are honored to be a location to celebrate the color, beauty, music, and joy that the Lunar New Year Celebration has to offer our guests. This would not be possible without the hard work of many volunteers from our Asian community who take time out of their busy lives to share a glimpse of this beautiful celebration.” (end)
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