By Sylvana Chan
Quincy ushered in the Year of the Horse with the 26th annual Lunar New Year Festival, held at North Quincy High School on Feb. 16. Approximately 8,000 people attended the event, making it one of the largest Lunar New Year celebrations in New England.
The celebration kicked off with a traditional lion dance followed by hours of live entertainment, exhibits, games and activities. Dozens of businesses, community organizations, social service groups and government agencies worked in collaboration with the South Cove Community Health Center and Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. to put on the event.
“This event represents a fantastic opportunity for members of the Asian and non-Asian communities to come together and plan an awesome cultural display for the entire community,” said John Brothers, executive director of QARI. He has been involved with the festival for the past 10 years. “Members of the Asian community are so proud of their New Year traditions and this is our chance to bring all of Quincy and the surrounding communities together to appreciate it.”
Brothers stressed the fact that the Quincy Lunar New Year Festival is not a festival solely for the Asian community; rather, it is an event for everyone to enjoy.
“A few years ago, we had Irish step dancers here and it was one of the most riveting performances for the Asian community because many had never seen anything like that before,” Brothers said. “Of course, it’s the same for the lion dance. Many people have grown up seeing that and others haven’t. It works both ways.”
This year’s entertainment schedule boasted 25 different performances. According to Denise Chan, co-chair of the Entertainment Committee at QARI, the performers came from various backgrounds and cultures, with ages ranging from three years old to 80 years old.
Seven-year-old Paco Lam was one of the festival’s many performers. He has been practicing Chinese martial arts at the Boston Shaolin Kung Fu Center in Quincy for nearly three years. This is his second year participating in the festival and his stick-defense routine drew loud applause from the crowd.
None of this would have been possible without help from the festival’s more than 100 volunteers. Alice Luu, a graduate of North Quincy High School, has been involved with the Quincy Lunar New Year Festival since she was in middle school. Now a senior at Brandeis University, she continues to help out with the event whenever she can. This year, she assisted with the decorations. Her favorite activity, however, is doing arts and crafts with the children.
Paul Vuu, a junior at North Quincy High School, is another volunteer. “I find it fun to help others and hang out with my friends at the same time,” he said.
The event was a great success in ringing in the Year of the Horse with a proper celebration for all of greater Boston to enjoy.