STOCKTON — For anyone expecting a child this year, know that Chinese tradition dictates one of his or her primary personality traits will be loyalty. After all, it’s the Year of the Dog — a human’s best and most loyal friend.
Many famous people were born in the Year of the Dog, such as Winston Churchill, Kelly Clarkson, Bill Clinton, Ellen Degeneres, Benjamin Franklin, Jane Goodall and Michael Jackson. In addition to 2018 — or Lunar Year 4716 — other “Dog Years” include 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946 and 1934.
More Chinese traditions, cultural entertainment and arts — and let’s not forget the food — was on full display Sunday in downtown Stockton for the 40th annual Chinese New Year Parade and Festival organized by the Chinese Cultural Society of Stockton.
Before heading inside the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium for the festival, hundreds spent an hour out in the crisp sunlight Sunday morning enjoying the community parade including Grand Marshal Kevin Wong and 2018 Stocktonian of the Year Dr. Elizabeth Blanchard — who also happens to be co-president of the Chinese Cultural Society — plus music, drummers, firetrucks, Port City Roller Girls, school and youth groups, Stockton Adopt-A-Bulls, as well as traditional Chinese dancing lions and dragons.
“I liked how they go in and out and all over,” 11-year-old Jesse Garza said of the many dancers connected by the lengthy dragon costume as it swirled intricately around itself and other dancers performing with giant lion heads.
Jesse, his mom and two siblings who came to the parade “to enjoy a different culture,” according to Jo Garza, made a beeline after the parade to the auditorium, where they quickly discovered the Kids Zone full of activities including face painting, sand art and “fishing” for prizes, organized by the Chung Wah Chinese School.
In the main hall, festivalgoers stood in line for dim sum and other Chinese delicacies, sauntered by the many vendor booths and engaged with artists. Among them was Joe Lai, a pop culture artist from the Bay Area who was helping out at his parents’ Jade & Crafts booth.
The popular vendor has been coming to the Stockton festival for more than two decades, Lai said. In addition to selling large hanging scrolls written in Mandarin for $25, people could learn to paint their names in Mandarin using the traditional method.
Meanwhile, Lai’s current creations of video game art attracted younger patrons to the family-run booth.
Stage entertainment well into the afternoon included the Drunken Lion dance performed by Lion Dance ME from San Francisco; Peking Opera Duet: Ode to Pear Flowers by Hongmei Xing and Michael Ju; a martial arts performance by Champion Wushu & Arts Center; and numerous other dancers, musicians, singers and martial artists.
Contact reporter Joe Goldeen at (209) 546-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at recordnet.com/goldeenblog and on Twitter @JoeGoldeen.