Photo credit: Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.
Photo credit: Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Photo by Truong Nguyen

SEATTLE — Seattleites will usher in the 2011 Year of the Rabbit in high style with a panoply of community events and celebrations in the International District ranging from traditional song-and-dance performances, to parades and cultural events.

On Saturday, Jan. 29, the Seattle chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) hosts its annual Lunar New Year banquet at the Tea Palace Restaurant and Lounge in Renton. For reservations, visit www.BrownPaperTickets.com. Ticket are $25 for AAJA members, $30 for non-members and can be purchased at the door.

All-day Lunar New Year celebrations will take place at the International District’s Hing Hay Park, at Maynard Ave. and S. King Street, on Saturday, Jan. 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entertainment will include Lion and Dragon dances, Taiko drumming and martial arts demonstrations. For more information visit www.cidbia.org.

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is sponsoring several events. The museum will sponsor the Year of the Rabbit coloring contest for children ages 12 and under. The grand prize is roundtrip travel for two on JetBlue Airways. Coloring sheets are available at www.wingluke.org/2011newyear. They are also available at the museum, or in the February issue of Parent Map magazine.

“While many New Year traditions have changed to accommodate new surroundings in America, their essence remains the same,” said Amy Chinn, Wing Luke Museum marketing and membership coordinator. “Family, friends, and communities join together around food, music, dancing and games to usher out the old year and welcome in the new.”

The start of the Lunar New Year celebration at the Wing Luke Museum begins on the first Thursday, Feb. 3. Admission is free to the public, and the museum will stay open late until 8 p.m., said Chinn. On Saturday, Feb. 5, the Wing Luke Museum will feature a live Lion Dance outside on King Street.

Children can learn how to create personalized Lunar New Year red envelopes with artist Mizu Sugimura on “Family Fun Day” at the museum, on Saturday, Feb. 19. On the same day, Seattle artist Romson Regarde Bustillo will give lessons on making Chinese zodiac trading cards.

“You can be there in person at a Lunar New Year festival that happens all over the world — right here in your own backyard,” said Beth Takekawa, executive director of the Wing Luke Museum. The Asian American community in the Pacific Northwest is ready to kick off the Year of the Rabbit with a bang.

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