New Utrecht, new year, same fun

What could be better than a colorful, exciting holiday full of dancing, eating, and enjoying quality time with family and friends? One that lasts all month, according to Katie Wong, one of the organizers of State Senator Marty Golden’s annual Lunar New Year celebration.

“There is so much going on today,” she stated at the celebration, which took place at New Utrecht High School on Sunday, March 3. “We have so many performances by people from all over Brooklyn, including Bay Ridge, and we’re going to run overtime for sure but we always go overtime. There is just so much to see!”

There were dozens of performances taking place throughout the day, from young girls performing traditional Chinese dances to performances of the time-honored “Lion Dance” to a full routine to Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” The festivities were in honor of the Chinese New Year and were meant to welcome the Year of the Snake.

Lilyan Lei, age 11, got ready for her ballet performance while sitting in the audience watching others. “This is one of my favorite holidays,” she said as her mother pulled her hair into a bun. “It’s such a big celebration!”

This particular Lunar New Year celebration has been around even longer than some of its performers, according to Don Lee, one of the volunteers who helps to put on the party each year.

“I’ve been here since 2002, since day one,” he said. “We have a big volunteer team and it’s worth it because we get a great turn-out. We have 1,000 people here today, from all over Brooklyn, from arts and cultural centers, from local schools. This is like a big secret people don’t know about.”

Bonny Au, another volunteer who has worked on the project for over 10 years, agreed, stating, “This is amazing. We are so fortunate to be able to celebrate our Asian heritage this way.”

“I like it because it’s traditional,” explained Danny Wei. “It’s important to be connected to our heritage, just the same as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving to feel closer to their past. I love to have my family all together like this.”

The Lunar New Year brings people from all over the borough together, which is why Golden is so happy to be a part of it, according to Wong.

“He is so proud. Before he was a senator, he was a councilman, and even then, he was involved. This has gotten so big, and it’s all thanks to him,” she stated.

2013’s Year of the Snake represents attention to detail, steady progress, focus, discipline and ultimately, success, which was exemplified in the rehearsals and performances surrounding Sunday’s festivities.

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