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Peninsula ushers in Lunar New Year
January 31, 2014, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

The Millbrae Rotary Club puts on an annual event that features the traditional Chinese lion dance.

Arts and crafts, musical performances, exhibitions and other festivities will fill the Peninsula over the next few weeks for the Lunar New Year to celebrate the year of the horse.

For example, the San Mateo County History Museum is hosting its fourth annual celebration of the holiday with free performances and activities 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 8 in its museum and Courthouse Square in Redwood City. Children can make traditional red envelopes, write lucky symbols in Chinese calligraphy, make paper lanterns and play folkloric games.

“There are several reasons the public will be interested in our event, plus, keep in mind, everything is free,” Mitch Postel, president of the San Mateo County Historical Association, wrote in an email. “This includes admission to the museum, which is usually $5 for adults and $3 for children.”

The children’s activities stations will include things to do based on the Chinese zodiac, including a horse station in which one can learn simple Chinese phrases for New Year’s wishes, a rooster station in which one can make Chinese puzzles and finding one’s zodiac sign at the snake station.

During the day, the public will be invited to visit all of the museum’s exhibit galleries, including “Land of Opportunity: The Immigrant Experience in San Mateo County,” which has exhibits related to Asian-American history on the Peninsula.

In Millbrae, the Rotary Club will host its seventh annual Lunar New Year’s banquet 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Feb. 21 at Zen Peninsula Seafood Restaurant, 1180 El Camino Real. It features ceremonial lion dancing, imperial court pageantry and a 10-course traditional Chinese banquet. Ticket proceeds go to help purchase new playground equipment for Millbrae youth.

Rick Chinn is chairing the dinner and said there will be about 150 people in attendance.

“You should come mainly for the fun, good food and making some friends amongst a traditional Chinese banquet,” Chinn said. “It’s a community fundraiser for parks and by buying a seat, you will be helping to support that effort. It’s a very friendly atmosphere.”

Additionally, at Foster City’s Recreation Center, there will be a free celebration entitled “Temple Fair” that spotlights a Chinese-American re-creation of a traditional village street fair 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2. Its program is designed to teach the visiting public about the history, traditions and customs of this historic Chinese holiday. The event will feature musical, acrobatic and dance performances; the traditional cultural ceremony; the tradition of family greetings; martial arts, calligraphy, brush painting, books, exhibitions, animated storytelling in Chinese and English and Chinese style arts and crafts.

“Temple Fair” is put on by the Foster City Arts and Culture Program Partner, Foster City Parks and Recreation Department and associated artists and arts and culture groups. The celebration takes place in the Lagoon Room of the Foster City Recreation Center, 650 Shell Blvd. in Foster City.
In San Mateo, Tat Wong Lion dancers will perform at the San Mateo Public Library, 55 W. Third Ave., 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 in the Oak Room.

The Downtown San Mateo Association and Self-Help for the Elderly are hosting their fifth annual Lion dance festival 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 at Central Park. The West Coast Lion Dance troupe will be performing throughout downtown businesses to bring prosperity to the area, said Donna Divodi, one of the event’s organizers. Booths with vendors and activities will be provided as well. San Mateo High School’s jazz band will perform and there will be food, drummers, singers and other entertainment. For more information, go call the Downtown San Mateo Association at 342-5520 or visit

For more information on the San Mateo County History Museum event go to or call 299-0104. It takes place at 2200 Broadway in Redwood City. To sign up for the Millbrae Rotary Club event visit, mail a check to: Millbrae Rotary Club-2014LNYB, P.O. Box 23, Millbrae, CA 94030 or call 343-8332. Please list the names, email addresses and/or phone number of each registered guest. Seats are $50 per person or discounted to $47.50 for guests who book their seats at a sponsored table of 10. Sponsored tables for $475 will be recognized at the event, on MCTV and Millbrae Rotary’s social media. Seat prices increase to $55 Feb. 17.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: chinese, mateo, millbrae, event, foster, traditional,

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