By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
For the fifth year in a row, the Bellevue Collection will be hosting its annual Lunar New Year celebration at Bellevue Square’s center court on Feb. 20 from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Decorations have already started to go up in all three facilities: Bellevue Place, Lincoln Square, and Bellevue Square.
Jennifer Leavitt, Bellevue Collection’s vice president of marketing, explained that the decorations are a way for the visitors to “really get a sense of the spirit of celebration.”
This year’s event will feature more performances than those of previous years.
Visitors can expect hands-on arts and crafts activities, beautiful displays, lion and dragon dances, and more for everyone in the family. There will be an area where people can participate in the art of Chinese calligraphy, which has been a popular attraction in the past celebrations.
In addition, Din Tai Fung will also provide samples during the event. There will also be opportunities for the visitors to take photos with performers in their colorful and beautiful costumes.
Leavitt explained that the lion dance is probably the fan favorite because it holds everyone’s attention right away with all its color and energy.
In addition, performances will include dancers of different ages performing various cultural dances. Stores will also get involved in the celebration by decorating their storefronts and windows.
The Bellevue Collection could see up to 40,000 visitors on a typical Saturday. Since this is a special event, Leavitt expects a larger number throughout the day.
“This is a diverse community, and people come to celebrate their heritage. There is a wonderful mix of people who attend the event for different reasons; to understand the Lunar New Year, or to see beautiful exhibits, art, and dance,” Leavitt said.
“We couldn’t have done it without the help of our community partners. They always bring the participants, and a lot of hard work and coordination of sponsorships are done by the organizations and associations,” she said.
The Seattle Chinese Culture and Arts Association, Taiwan Benevolent Association of America, and the Overseas Community Affairs Council plan the event together.
Gillian Lamont, marketing communications coordinator, said that the stores get involved in the festivities as well.
“We start in advance to help them better understand the actual tradition of the new year, like what things are important, what the colors mean, and what the cultural traditions are.”
The celebration is also an educational opportunity for the tenants.
“It’s a really fun family experience, and there’s such a genuine response from the community when they spend their time here, both as a visitor and as a participant, that’s what makes it so wonderful. These are people who are showing us their crafts and taking personal time to share with other people. That’s what you really feel when you’re there,” Leavitt said.
Because there is a huge Chinese customer base, made up of out-of-town visitors and local community members, it is important for the Bellevue Collection to learn more about the traditions to host celebrations.
Leavitt explained that they had done other similar events, and as things have progressed over the years, they continue to find different ways to connect with the community.
The Bellevue Collection hosts about 10 other annual events, including the Arts Fair with the Bellevue Art Museum, Fashion Week, and Snowflake Lane. They continue to look for new opportunities to host celebrations for the community. (end)
For more info, visit lunarnewyear.bellevuecollection.com.
Nina Huang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.