The colorful and dramatic lion dance will welcome the Lunar New Year at a free family-friendly celebration at the Bankhead Theater lobby and plaza from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Saturday (Jan. 25) with Chinese cultural demonstrations, as well as food and crafts.
The annual event, hosted by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, honors the Year of the Rat in accordance with the Asian tradition that assigns a different animal to represent each year in the Chinese zodiac.
The traditions will include a festive Community Altar for an opportunity to offer gifts such as fruit, flowers or money for good tidings of health and prosperity in the coming year.
The Bankhead Theater is located at 2400 First St. in Livermore.
Stoneridge Shopping Center will also celebrate Lunar New Year the weekend of Jan. 25-26.
At 1 p.m. that Saturday, the East Bay WeDance Team will perform a traditional lion dance, waist drum dancing, a YangGe ribbon dance, Chinese Qi-Pao, Tibet-style dancing and other traditional dances in the Grand Court. On that Sunday, also at 1 p.m. in the Grand Court, shoppers are invited to a free tai chi class and complimentary tea.
"We're excited to celebrate the Year of the Rat with our shoppers," said Michele Osgood, director of marketing and development. "The dancers will put on a spectacular performance, and the tai chi class is a great way to prep yourself for the week ahead."
Some stores are offering special activities throughout the weekend.
Pacific Pearl shopping center will celebrate Chinese New Year the following weekend, from 1-3 p.m. on Feb. 1. A lion dance will kick off the Year of the Rat, followed by a martial arts exhibition by the Jing Mo School, and dance and acrobatic performances by the Xiaopei Chinese Dance school and company.
There will also be special crafts for kids, photo ops with the day's performers, and a chance to sound a giant gong for good luck. The festivities are free and open to the public.
The main stage will be near the 85° Bakery Café, 2693-2733 Stoneridge Drive.