Category Archives: Boutwell Auditorium

Birmingham Chinese New Year Festival – Part 3

This is the third and final of a three-part post about the Birmingham Chinese Festival Association and the annual Chinese New Year Festival.

CNYF entranceOne of the things I love the best about festivals is getting to photograph them.  Cultural events are guaranteed to give you a lot of colorful options and the Chinese New Year festival is no exception.  This past year, I arrived at the festival a little late – so I missed the opening ceremony and the dragon dance.  I was a little disappointed about that, but as I entered the Boutwell Auditorium the acts on the main stage immediately got my attention and I almost ran up to them to take photos!

IMG_1844During the entertainment breaks, I walked through the exhibits…the first booth that drew my attention was the Confucian Academy.  There I spotted not one, but two men dressed as Confucius helping each other with their beards!   Adorable!  Later one of the men posed with me for a picture while the other one was busy writing names and other phrases for people in Chinese.


A little further down, a long table was set up with books, interesting knickknacks and some watercolor paintings.  The chicken got my attention right off the bat.  I don’t know what it is about chickens but I could probably be a collector if I’m not careful.  I think they look beautiful in a kitchen.  So, I quickly grabbed it up for $10 and asked if the artist was nearby because I wanted to meet her and also get her to sign the painting.  Her name was Karen, and she also told me her Chinese name.  I sure wish I could remember it now but when I repeated it to her, she said I was saying it correctly which made me happy.  She then posed for a picture with me along with the painting.  Turns out, I was at the Troy University Confucius Institute’s (CIT) table.  I know Troy has a very robust international program and it was great to see them in Birmingham for this festival so more people could learn about it.

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For the remainder of the time I was there, I stood in front of the elevated sound and light system and took pictures of the stage performances.  Everything from yoga dancers to sword dancing to a guy juggling a large chinese vase and finally a guy balancing on numerous stacked chairs.  Everyone of these acts so colorful and leaving the crowd anxious for the next.  Here are a few of my favorites from this past year.  Sometimes, it’s hard to narrow them down!

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Birmingham Chinese New Year Festival – Part 2


Amy Chen and I cut the ribbon to officially open the Chinese New Year festival in 2008.

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.


Chinese New Year at The Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, Alabama


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 female performers from China at the Chinese New Year Festival. She was simply amazing!


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.


This gentleman was writing phrases and people’s names in Chinese characters.


The drum group performed at the opening ceremonies. They are wearing the festival t-shirts that everyone wanted!


Amy and I get ready to cut the ribbon – I believe I was saying to her here – “are you ready?”


The Dragon Dance leads everyone into the festival after the ribbon cutting!


Walked up on a Mahjong game at the festival. My mother had a mahjong set when we lived in Thailand and I always loved playing with her and her friends as a little girl.


The Dragon at the festival always seems so real to me…especially the way he tilts his head.


These sweet children were intrigued by a presentation at the festival. They arrived dressed in Chinese costume.


The amazing Amy Chen introduces the Chinese costume fashion show.


BCFA President, Allan Staib and Vice-President, Amy Chen, speak to the audience after the fashion show.


Chinese acrobat shows off her talent!

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