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Phoenix celebrates Chinese New Year with weekend-long festival

(KTAR News/Griselda Zetino)
LISTEN: Chinese festival in downtown Phoenix

PHOENIX — Friday marks the Chinese New Year. As a way to celebrate, there’s a festival going on in downtown Phoenix this weekend.

The 28th annual Phoenix Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival kicked off Friday at the Margaret T. Hance Park.

Festival organizers said it’s the perfect place where people can immerse themselves in the Chinese culture and welcome in the year of the dog.

“This is our way to really display and showcase our rich culture, which is so wonderful,” said Elaine Wong, president of Phoenix Chinese Week. “I’m so passionate about having others learn about the Chinese culture.”

The three-day festival features dozens of vendors, exhibits, and booths for the whole family.

Among them is the Chinese Culture Village, where people can learn about Chinese inventions that date back thousands of years, including the abacus, which was used as a calculating tool.

At the Children’s Pavilion, kids can learn how to make lanterns and rattle drums. They can also view a demonstration of Chinese calligraphy and have their name translated into Chinese.

At a new booth this year, families can learn how to use chopsticks and participate in a chopsticks competition.

There will also be dozens of performances, including lion dances and martial arts demonstrations. And a traditional dragon boat used for races will be on display. It was a gift to Phoenix from Taipei, Taiwan.

Wong said since this is the year of the dog, pets are welcomed to attend the festival. There’s also a photo booth where they can dress up.

She said they expect 25,000 people will attend the festival throughout the weekend. Admission is free. For more information, visit the festival’s website.

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