A 40-foot long “living” snake has taken over the Jade Water Pavilion at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, located at 578 Carrall St. The snake is alive — as in made up of organic materials including willow branches, which if all goes well will eventually sprout and take on an entirely different look by spring.
Artist Alastair Heseltine created the eco-arts outdoor sculpture in celebration of the Year of the Snake on the lunar calendar. The snake will remain on display until April or May, depending on its condition. The project was commissioned by the Eco-Arts program of the Community Arts Council Vancouver.
Also taking place at the garden in celebration of Lunar New Year is the Year of the Snake Temple Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 17.
The garden’s special “Hot and Noisy” (re nao) public event is based on Spring Festival temple fairs where people entertain, trade, greet, celebrate and pray for a prosperous new year. The Chinese word “re nao” is often used to describe the hustle and bustle of crowds on the street. The Chinese Lunar New Year is a time when families and individuals from across the globe come together to wish each other fortune, prosperity and good health.
Some of the highlights of this day-long celebration include traditional Chinese games such bean bag toss, wei-qi, mahjong, chopstick challenges, lantern riddles, yo-yos, shuttlecock and lucky coin toss. Of the dozens of other activities happening during the day, watch for dumpling and noodle making demonstration and incense and wish making, arts and crafts for kids, live music and lucky red envelopes handed out by “grandparents.” Entrance is by a suggested donation of $5.
Marpole Neighbourhood House is wishing everyone Kung Hei Fat Choy with a free family event Feb. 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Join in the dumpling making and you might get lucky and find a magical coin. Special red envelopes will be given to children, and Chinese dance lessons will be provided. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1305 East 70th Ave. (at Hudson).
The Renfrew Park Community Centre is also getting in on the act with a free Lunar New Year party organized to coincide with B.C.’s first annual Family Day. The festivities take place Feb. 9 from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. with an afternoon of games, crafts, face painting, balloon animals and bouncy castles. Don’t miss the traditional Chinese dancing and other festive presentations.
And speaking of Family Day, the Vancouver Art Gallery is the place to be Feb. 11 for free activities and concerts for the whole family. Catch Juno award winners Said the Whale and enjoy street performers, face painting, a hockey shoot-out, local artists and more. Free skating at the Robson Square Ice Rink is just steps, or Salchows, away. Keep your eyes peeled for your favourite mascots and stilt walkers. (And you know how I feel about stilt walkers.)
Other highlights include educational activities from the Telus World of Science, Britannia Mining Museum and the Royal B.C. Museum.
The party runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the corner of Georgia and Howe. Howe Street will be closed from Georgia to Robson, so expect traffic diversions. Where possible, use public transit. Underground parking is available nearby at Pacific Centre on West Georgia Street. Visit the B.C. Family Day website, bcfamilyday.ca, for more information, events, discounts and activities.