Feeling sheepish? This could be your year. According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the year of the sheep. And it's coming in like a lion, as Chinese Week 2003, continuing through Sunday, February 9, ushers the Chinese New Year into the Valley.
A series of cultural, social and educational events presented by the Phoenix Chinese Week Committee and Phoenix Sister Cities Commission, the celebration honors sister city Taipei, Taiwan, and the Valley's Chinese community.
An opening ceremony at noon Friday, February 7, kicks off the week's event de résistance, the 13th annual Culture and Cuisine Festival. Dignitaries from Taipei and the Valley will gather at the COFCO Chinese Cultural Center, 668 North 44th Street, for cultural activities, entertainment and an awards presentation.
Folk dancing, martial arts demonstrations and musical performances – plus an appearance by the Jia Ho Champion Chinese Yo-Yo Team – fill the free three-day festival. An estimated 200,000 attendees are expected at the event, where there's a little something for everyone. The Children's Pavilion presents hands-on activities reflecting Chinese art, crafts and heritage, including free instruction in calligraphy and paper folding. The Food Pavilion features demonstrations by master chefs and cuisine courtesy of the Chinese Restaurant Association of Arizona. Knowledge-hungry festivalgoers can take a culinary tour of Hong Kong, Taipei, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, experiencing each city's distinctive cuisine. In the Cultural Village, the Invention and History Booth showcases Chinese innovation; the nation's most familiar creations include the abacus, the printing block, kites and the compass. Looking for visual arts? A photo exhibition puts faces on the Valley's Chinese community, and the festival's various arts and crafts booths are complemented by an art exhibition on display in the Phoenix City Hall atrium through Friday, February 7. The Culture and Cuisine Fest wraps up on Sunday, February 9.
On Saturday, February 8, the Cultural Center is home base for the 5K "Wok" & Run. A parent/child relay hits the starting blocks at 8:30 a.m., followed by the 5K run and "wok" at 9 a.m.; registration is $12. The spirit of competition continues at the Adult Tennis Tournament, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Paseo Racquet Club, 6268 West Thunderbird in Glendale.
On Saturday evening, an acrobatic and dance troupe from the Taipei National Junior College of Performing Arts takes the stage at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams, to perform acrobatics, songs and dances in traditional costumes. Tickets are $10 to $25.
Chinese Week concludes Sunday, February 9, with a Chinese New Year Banquet at China Doll Restaurant, Seventh Avenue and Osborn. The menu pairs live entertainment with a 10-course dinner ($30 per person, early reservations suggested).