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Time: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Place: Exposition Center
           State Fairgrounds 
           1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh

7 Hour Main Stage Performance Program Schedule
Little Theater Program Schedule
Essay and Arts Contest

Festival Recap: 

¡°Year of Rat¡± ¨C Chinese New Year Festival 

To celebrate the ¡°Year of Rat¡±, Triangle Area Chinese American Society (TACAS) held a New Year Festival at the Exposition Center in Raleigh on January 26, 2008.   The Festival started at 10 AM with the traditional dragon dance.  Approximately 5000 people joined the Chinese American community to celebrate this happy event.  The previous attendance records clearly indicated that this Festival has become increasingly popular during the past four years.  The media coverage of this event helped not only to introduce the Chinese culture, but to generate much interest in the local communities.

There was a lot of traffic in front of the Exposition Center that morning.  People waited at the front door even before the box office opened for business.  Volunteers wore traditional Chinese costumes, mostly in red or gold colors, very much in tune with this festival atmosphere.  People were saying ¡°Gong Xi Fa Cai¡± or ¡°Happy New Year¡± to one another everywhere.  The hallways were decorated with firecrackers and red lanterns.  In the center of the Hall, there was a bowl filled with big red balloons sitting on top of the round table with shinny gold table cloth.  A big yellow rat and three smaller rats were hung against the black backdrop in the main stage.  This setup made a very striking impression on the audience.   

Not only there were more food vendors, but more varieties this year.  In addition to various traditional Chinese cuisines, there were Greek and Danish cuisines too.  The main stage was packed with performance such as singing, dancing, Chinese instrument playing, Chinese Opera, .etc...  This year, TACAS made a special invitation to a Korean and an India group to come celebrating Chinese New Year.  These two groups dazzled the audience with their wonderful performance.    

TACAS also designed numerous games for kids of all ages.  The hall was filled with their laughter. While adults enjoyed the performance on stage, or wandered through food or merchandise booths, or gathered information from some vendors, kids were lined up and waited for their turn to drive a litter car or take a picture with the magician and the parrot or to play their favorite games without feeling bored.  

¡°Chinese American Idol¡± Show was a new program this year.  It followed the format of the popular ¡°American Idol¡± show on TV.  TACAS recruited 5 judges for this show.  Those who were interested in auditioning for this show would perform first at the small stage at the corner.  The 5 judges would base on the performers¡¯ skill level, creativity, and other criteria, selected 6 finalists who would get a chance to perform at the main stage.   There was no shortage of the participants.  Besides singing, dancing, there were Indian drum playing, guitar and violin playing, brick dance, and so on.  The variety and the quality of the performance were amazing.  The 13 year old Amber Wang¡¯s outstanding violin performance won her the top prize.   In addition to the new ¡°Chinese American Idol¡± show, there is another new program this year ¡°Chinese New Year Essay and Drawing Contest¡±.  Over one hundred students sent in their creations, which were posted in the hall for the proud parents to review.  Close to the entrance, people gathered in front of a booth where members of the Book Club were busy demonstrating calligraphy by translating English names to Chinese, and wrote them down in traditional brush pens.   

Although the celebration lasted only 7 hours, the planning committee began to work on this event several months ago.  TACAS mobilized more than 500 volunteers and performers.  They recruited people to take on responsibility of box office management, publicity and media, vendor/sponsor relations, stage management, sound and light, decorations, volunteer coordination, food distribution, traffic control, and many other tasks.  An event of this magnitude takes tremendous resources and manpower, not to mention the coordination and the planning.  Cyndy Yu Robinson, President of TACAS, and Theresa Boudreaux, Director of Arts Center, often worked till 2 or 3 o¡¯clock in the morning.  Without the dedication of all the volunteers and performers, this event won¡¯t be able to take place.  They deserve our utmost appreciation. 

Event organizer: Cyndy Yu-Robinson
Artistic Director: Theresa Boudreaux

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