This is the second of a three-part post about the Birmingham Chinese Festival Association and the annual Chinese New Year Festival.
In 2008, the Birmingham Chinese Festival Association (BCFA) made the big decision to move the Chinese New Year festival into Boutwell Auditorium. This venue gave the festival the opportunity to expand entertainment and use the large stage in the venue. And now, since the second year, the Boutwell has been the home of the festival and the main stage continues to be a focal point.
The tradition of having a ribbon cutting along with greetings from a representative of the City of Birmingham continues each year as well. During the 2nd year, I had the honor of opening the festival along-side BCFA Vice-President, Amy Chen! After we ceremoniously cut the red ribbon, the BCFA Drum and Dragon team performed and then lead a parade of people into the auditorium. It was quite a site! So many people and so many new sponsors came out this year to enjoy the food, fun, activities and the stage performances.
Once again, Amy led the way in acquiring tradition Chinese costumes to be featured on the stage. Another stage highlight was a Chinese acrobat troupe, direct from China, that performed. They were incredible and the women performers had me wanting to get back to the gym and work on my upper arm strength!!! Other popular booths included kids activities, games and having a phrase or your name written in Chinese characters.
One of the things I loved seeing was the sea of volunteers in coordinated Birmingham Chinese Festival Association t-shirts. Call me a nerd or organization freak, but that really added to the “color” of the event. AND, everyone began asking where they could get one! I may have told someone it was an “ancient Chinese secret!”
It was estimated that over 5,000 people attended the 2nd year. And with the close of year two, it was safe to say the festival was a secret no more!
Part 3 will showcase some of my favorite photos from the past 9 years, especially the festival this past weekend where I got to meet Confucius! Meanwhile, here are some pictures from the first Boutwell event.