The year of the snake slithers into the Tacoma Dome on Saturday, the start of the Asian New Year. Although dozens of Asian cultures will be represented by their art, entertainment and food at the 15th annual Asian Pacific New Year Celebration, the island nation of Taiwan will be the highlighted culture at the festivities. The free festival draws 5,000 to 8,000 people, said Lua Pritchard, executive director of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. Taiwan will have an hour-long program that will feature entertainment, costumes, culture and more starting at noon.
Pritchard said Asian cultures have slightly different dates and ways of celebrating the New Year, but they all have one thing in common: Its wishing well to everyone and good luck for us to celebrate.
A visiting South Korean entertainment group, Kkocdooseh, will provide the finale for the event. The troop combines folk music, acrobatics, dance and rituals. They bridge the gap between modern and traditional Korea, Pritchard said. Other entertainment will represent cultures from the Philippines, Hawaii, Samoa, China, Japan, Tahiti, India, Tonga, Fiji, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Guam, New Zealand and more.
Authentic Asian Pacific cuisine will be served at the festival. Children can make Korean lanterns, Japanese Origami and learn calligraphy and other crafts.
The festival has been growing in recent years, Pritchard said. Its a reflection of renewed alliances, she said. People are coming out and making a difference.
The center moved to the former South Park Community Center, 4851 South Tacoma Way, in April. It now has 70,000 visitors annually who take part in martial arts classes, language classes, dancing, arts, community meetings, movies and food events. We are open seven days a week. We are very busy, Pritchard said.
The center holds its popular Taste of Asia food fair on the first Saturday of every month at 12:30 p.m. A tea ceremony precedes the event at 10 a.m.
Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541