For the first time ever, Flushing Town Hall’s Chinese Temple Bazaar will be held virtually in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
The event will be livestreamed on YouTube on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 2 p.m., ushering in the Year of the Ox.
Last year’s festivities were canceled to safeguard the community, as the programs coincided with the onset of COVID-19. This year, according to Minwen Yang, chair of Flushing Town Hall’s Chinese Cultural Committee, they’re reviving the beloved event so that the community may come together again.
“Our community stepped up to take care of one another during dark times, and we are resilient,” Yang said. “We will hold this bazaar virtually because we are still experiencing a pandemic. With the arrival of a new year and after much hardship, we know this lively celebration will lift our spirits.”
The Chinese Temple Bazaar is sponsored by Tai Wang and Glow Foundation. It will feature a feast of Lunar New Year celebrations including: traditional folk dance by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company; “Hao Bang Ah, New Year,” a new Chinese hand puppet performance by Chinese Theatre Works; a paper-cutting demonstration by Hongyi He and Ling Tang; a Chinese comic crosstalk episode; “A Guide of New York Love,” by Shuimu Xiangsheng; and a fish-drawing demonstration by Arthur Liu of the Queens Arts Education Center.
And, for those seeking culinary experiences, tune in to see classic Lunar New Year dishes: sweet and savory rice ball demonstration by Queens Night Market’s Wanda Chiu; a meatball dish called “braised lion head” by Queens Night Market’s Johnson Hu; and, a whole fish demonstration by Glow Community Center.
For centuries in China, people have celebrated the Lunar New Year in temple fairs with performances, food and crafts to conclude the final stretch of a harsh winter and celebrate the pending arrival of spring.
Tai Wang, a member of Flushing Town Hall’s Chinese Cultural Committee, said Temple bazaars are among her most cherished memories about Lunar New Year while growing up in Taiwan.
“People watched the live performances in front of a temple while enjoying delicious treats from food stalls and fun games by the vendors. I hoped to recreate the fun experience in New York City. This year, we are celebrating online with a great variety of programs,” Wang said.
In keeping with the theme of the Ox, which is characterized by attributes of strength and determination, Flushing Town Hall will also revive its community art exhibition, “Call and Response: Grief, Resiliency, and Hope” in February.
To be displayed outdoors along its Northern Boulevard fence, the exhibition first launched in the summer of 2020. This year, members of the community — amateur and professional artists alike — are invited to submit works on the theme and ask themselves, “How can I live a courageous life?” “How can I help build a resilient community?” “What gives me hope?”
Flushing Town Hall will begin accepting new artwork for display on Feb. 1. Participants will be able to hang their works directly on the fence or scan and submit their work by email at email@example.com.