“If they want to come out and check out local culture, we have live performances and food and booths for families,” said Linh Du, a volunteer with event coordinator San Diego Chinese Center.
The Year of the Metal Tiger, year 4708 on the lunar calendar, officially begins Feb. 14. According to Online Chinese Astrology, the combined metal tiger signifies the energy to begin activity and the determination to follow it, and that events set in motion will gain steam in the new year.
Du said she expects about 25,000 people to attend the free two-day festival that will take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. Entertainment at the event includes Chinese acrobats, local folk dance and music performances, local martial arts performers and an Asian story theater, in addition to various food and vendor booths.
“It’s a family event, so bring the kids,” Du said. “It’s good for families because we have our children’s center.”
Activities in the children’s area include Chinese crafts and calligraphy. There will also be a children’s lantern parade.
The nearby San Diego Chinese Historic Museum will also take part in the Chinese New Year festivities. The museum, located at 404 Third Ave., has prepared special exhibits for the fair, including an exhibition of Chinese New Year prints and a display case dedicated to the new year with firecrackers, lanterns and a lion’s head.
“We have about 60 to 70 copies from the Chinese Palace Museum (in the Forbidden City),” Alexander Chuang, executive director of the museum, said about the prints. “There are many categories.”
Also on display in time for the fair is a new addition to the museum’s permanent collection – eight Chinese opera masks. These masks convey specific positions and poses from the ancient tradition of Chinese opera.
“They are very real because they are made of clay and fired in low temperature,” Chuang said. “It’s hard to keep from the damage from shipping.”
The San Diego Chinese New Year Fair will be held at Third Avenue and J Street downtown. For more information, visit www.sdcny.org. The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is online at www.sdchm.org.