This year, the CIDBIA has come up with a new way to engage kids and bring more families into the ID for its lunar new year event on Feb. 13.
By Samantha Pak
Northwest Asian Weekly
For about a dozen years, Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area (CIDBIA) staff members have organized the International District’s annual Lunar New Year Celebration.
And every year, they come up with different ways to get the community more involved and bring more people into the district. This year is no different.
This year’s celebration, which is on Saturday, Feb. 13 at Hing Hay Park, will include a scavenger hunt that will have participants exploring all over the district.
“We just thought it’d be a fun way to get people moving,” said CIDBIA Program Coordinator Julia Nelson.
Nelson, who has been at the CIDBIA for almost three years, said they offered business specials at last year’s celebration and were very successful. This year, she wanted to do something different that would still bring people into the community.
While last year’s business specials were a success, CIDBIA Executive Director Maribeth Ellis does not want the celebration activities to become too commercial. “The goal of the Lunar New Year Celebration is to generate and increase traffic in the district, not to be a business advertisement,” she said.
Ellis also said the scavenger hunt is an especially good opportunity for children to discover the International District with their families and learn about different cultures.
But if people don’t want to go on a scavenger hunt, there will be other opportunities for children to discover different cultures.
Nelson said booths will be set up at the park for children. Activities for children will include playing with Chinese yo-yos, arts and crafts, face painting, learning about calligraphy, discovering musical instruments from other countries, making their own books, and even getting their pictures taken while dressed in traditional Chinese outfits.
“There will also be a tiger fun jump in honor of the year of the tiger,” she said, “and a children’s costume parade and contest.”
Like the parade, this will be the first year for the scavenger hunt — an idea that was born from a brainstorming session among the CIDBIA staff. The hunt’s organization and implementation, however, have been left to Nelson.
“This is Julia’s brainchild,” Ellis said.
Everything that participants will need for the scavenger hunt, Nelson said, will be in the Lunar New Year Celebration program guide, which they can pick up at the information booth (or the U.S. Bank booth) on the day of the event.
The guide will have a stamp card and a list of eight local business participants that people can choose to visit on their hunt. At each business, participants will receive a red envelope from a volunteer. The envelope will contain one question. The answer will be found inside the business. Once they find the answer, participants must tell the volunteer and will then receive their stamp.
Participants need only four stamps, and Nelson said none of the answers require participants to purchase anything.
After receiving their four stamps, participants turn in their stamp cards to be entered into a raffle. Nelson said three entries will be drawn for different prizes.
Jim Russell, owner of Ming’s Asian Gallery, hopes the scavenger hunt will increase traffic in the International District and get more people exploring different cultures.
Ming’s is one of the eight businesses participating in the hunt. Russell didn’t think twice about participating and said he is excited to be involved.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “We want to participate in anything we can to support the International District.”
Vivian Chan, community programs manager at the Wing Luke Asian Museum, said the hunt could be a way for people to explore beyond their comfort zones and visit places they normally would not.
“I think it’ll expose folks to new places and hopefully they’ll come back,” Chan said.
The museum is another participating business, and Chan hopes to see new guests as a result.
The Lunar New Year Celebration is on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no participation fee. The scavenger hunt begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m., and the raffle drawing will begin at 3:45 p.m. Winners are not required to be present. ♦
For more information, visit www.cidbia.org.
Samantha Pak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.