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    Albany kids will make dragon dance debut at the Lunar New Year Celebration

    dragon dance

    Third-grader Lewis Pietropaoli and David Leong rehearse dragon dance at Cornell Chinese After-school Program Friday. They will make a debut at the Lunar New Year Celebration on Solano Avenue Sunday. Photo by Linjun Fan.

    About 120 Albany kids will participate in the Lunar New Year celebration, which starts at 1:00 pm Sunday, parading from the east end of Solano Avenue to Cornell Elementary School.

    A stage will be set up near the school on Solano Avenue, where the well-known group Wushu West will perform martial arts for Albany audience.

    The dragon was hand-made by 66-year-old Zion Lee with waste paper and cloth. Lee, who immigrated to the United States from China several decades ago, said he recently learned to make the dragon through instructions on the Internet.

    He has been teaching a dozen Albany kids the dragon dance in the past two months, preparing them for the upcoming performance at the festival.

    Lunar New Year is the most important festival for people in many East Asian countries, including China, Korea and Vietnam. It begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar, which is February 7th in 2008, and lasts for two weeks.

    It will be the second year that Albany holds a celebration for the festival.

    “It’s to recognize the growing number of Asians in this community, and try to do something to honor that culture, ” said Superintendent William Wong of the Albany Unified School District, who was born in China.

    About one fourth of Albany’s residents are of Asian origin, according to the latest census.

    The celebration is sponsored by the Albany school district and Solano Avenue Association.

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