Free fun for the whole family at Chinese New Year Festival

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This inflatable slide, rented from Thunder Showers event rentals company, of Boscobel, will be new this year to the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival at Prairie du Chien High School Feb. 20, at noon. There will also be an obstacle course available for young event-goers, involving tricycles navigating through cones and more. (Submitted photo)

By Correne Martin

The Chinese Lunar New Year Festival will celebrate the Year of the Monkey on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Prairie du Chien High School, in a free and entertaining public event. Spotlighted performances will include a traditional Chinese martial arts show and vibrant lion dance as well as several short plays written and directed by Bluff View students.

In its third year, the New Year festival is the perfect indoor spectacle for all ages.

“It’s something that’s always been real exciting for the kids,” said Adam Stout, Chinese language teacher in the Prairie du Chien School District. “It’s very interactive and very hands-on.”

Doors will open at noon. Attendees are encouraged to “go bananas” as the Chinese food stand opens right away selling loads of pot stickers, egg rolls, fortune cookies, soda, water and baked goods. Take some time to “monkey around” by participating in activities, including free kids arts and crafts—monkey masks and banana games—ping pong, a photo booth, an inflatable slide, obstacle course and other games.

At 1 p.m., the show will start with the Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association, of Madison,  ( demonstrating kung fu and a lion dance, which is believed to bring good luck and fortune to businesses and households. Stout said the kung fu troupe plans to perform a new and exciting routine for the local crowd this year.

While the troupe changes costumes, more than a dozen Bluff View students will act in a couple short plays, “Story of Nian” and “The Firework Thief Under the Sea,” which were both written and directed by local youth Kylie Colvin and Jillian Kruempel.

Activities will resume after the show as well. Kids will surely enjoy the inflatable slide and obstacle course, which are new to this year’s festival.

“The goal is to celebrate the holiday. We’re hoping it can get bigger and better each year,” Stout noted. “Last year, we had about double the amount of people than we did the first year.”

While the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival is free to the public, donations are appreciated and will benefit not only this program but also the Chinese language program in the district.

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