Usher in the Year of the Horse with Chinese New Year activities on both sides of the river. On the east side, it’s the Chinese Cultural Fair and Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre’s Monkey King.  On the west side, another huge celebration will be held at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. If you’re yearning for nature-loving adventures, take a short drive to Al’s Garden Center, in Woodburn, to let your kids play in the mud and make seed balls for the yard, or check out nature’s honey-makers at the Festival of Beeschinese_new_year_lan_su

Eastside

Chinese New Year Fair

Celebrate one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture this weekend at the Cultural Chinese Fair, where visitors will see the Lion Dance, the Dragon Dance, traditional dress, music, food and love for the Year of the Horse.  Sat.,11 a.m.-5 p.m., $8/person; free for kids 6 and under, All Ages. Event details.

Bee There or Bee Square

Dip sweetly-scented beeswax candles, taste delicious honey and pick up some Garden Bee Kits for your home garden to encourage bee friends at the Festival of Bees.  Also on tap, are stories for the kids, a photo booth with costumes and props, and a silent auction filled with gifts, crafts and gift certificates, to benefit the school’s financial aid program for lower income families. Sat., 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

Monkey Around

Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre presents the classic story of the tricky Chinese Monkey King through 30 unbelievable puppets that were handcrafted in China, specifically for Tears of Joy.  Seventh generation puppet master, Yang Feng, directed the piece and will take the audience on a grand journey with acrobatic monkeys flying through the air, magical transformations in the story with Monkey, his master and Bajeer the pig. Preshow crafts take place before the Saturday and Sunday performances. Fri.-Sun., various start times, $13-$18/person, All Ages. Event details.

Westside

Chinese New Year Garden Party

Begin the new year celebration Friday morning by “Rolling in the Wealth,” where oranges and gold coins are rolled through the entrance of the garden to promote good fortune and prosperity. Afterwards, visitors will be treated to Lee’s Association Dragon and Lion dance team, a visit from the Portland Police Mounted Patrol Unit and a martial arts demonstration. Friday’s guest will each receive a hong bao, or lucky red envelope.  Saturday and Sunday will offer more lion and dragon dances, miniature horses from the NW Miniature Horse Club, calligraphy lessons and children’s music and dance performances.  Fri.- Sun., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., All Ages. Event details.

Gettin’ Squirrelly

Pack up the whole family and head on down to learn about the Douglas Squirrel, a true Oregon native, who’s very different from the urban ones we see every day. For Family Trail day, visitors can hike through the forest, play silly squirrel games and make a squirrel craft. Advance registration is required. Sat., 3:30-5:30 p.m., $6/non-members; $5/members, Ages 4-12. Event details.  

Worth the Drive

Muddy Buddies

If your kids like making mud pies, they’re going to love making seed balls.  Seed balls are made up of soil, red clay and seeds all rolled together.  Once dry, they can be chucked outside in the yard and left there to sprout and grow without being planted.  Reservations required. Sat., 11 a.m., $5/person, All Ages. Event details.

How will you be celebrating the Chinese New Year this weekend?  Let us know in the comments section below.

–by Suzie Ridgway

Photo courtesy of Lan Su Chinese Garden